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Iowa Policy

Updated As Of: April 25, 2017

The state of Iowa has not passed legislation to provide undocumented students with in-state tuition. Iowa does not have any known tuition equity law or policies implemented.
  • Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad sponsored the Iowa Workforce Opportunity Act (IOWA Act), which would have allowed in-state tuition for undocumented students meeting certain criteria.
  • HF 27, introduced in January 2017, would provide in-state tuition to undocumented students who meet the following requirements: (1) attended a school in Iowa for at least five years as of the date the individual graduated from an accredited high school in Iowa or received the equivalent in the state, (2) is accepted by the college, (3) was not required to pay tuition to attend a public institution in the state, (4) signs an affidavit, if the individual does not have a Social Secruity number, stating that the individual will pursue citizenship at the earliest time they are able to do so. It has been referred to the House of Education in January 2017.
  • A policy resembling Arizona SB 1070 was proposed but rejected in 2010-2011.
  • SF 172, introduced in January 2017, would require employers to verify the employment eligibility of employees after hiring them using E-verify and keep a record of the verification for the duration of the employee's employment or at least three years, whichever is longer. It has been referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • HF 265, introduced in February 2017, would prohibit the state, counties, cities, and public postsecondary educational institutions from limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws if passed. It has been referrred to the House Public Safety Committee in April 2017.

Federal law has been unsuccessful at addressing comprehensive access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Despite efforts to pass the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has not addressed the current ambiguous language in IIRIRA regarding undocumented students' eligibility for educational benefits (i.e. in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid programs). Therefore, much of the policy activity regarding postsecondary access for undocumented students has shifted to state and system levels. As a result, state policymakers and higher education institutions take varied approaches to either broadening or restricting access to postsecondary education and educational benefits. Others states have yet to take formal action on this issue, leaving the decision to individual campus leaders.

Under the provisions of this ambiguous policy context, undocumented youth encounter contentious environments with policies that range from inclusive, restrictive, or unstipulated stances.

Inclusive: States with policies that explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.

Restrictive: States with policies that explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.

Unstipulated: States that do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.

State and system policies are volatile and continuously changing. For the latest, please visit the uLEAD NewsdeskFor information specific to individual state context, click in the subheadings below.