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Maine Policy

Updated As Of: April 26, 2017

The state of Maine currently charges undocumented students out-of-state tuition at higher education institutions.
  • The state of Maine has yet to introduce legislation on higher education access for undocumented students. 
  • HP 272 was introduced in 2017. If passed, it would prohibit a government entity from limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal immigration law. 
  • In 2013, Joint Resolution SP 550 was adopted by Maine state legislature. The resolution declares the legislature's support for comprehensive immigration reform.
  • In 2013, HP 980 was enacted. This law allows the Secretary of State to remove requirements for proving legal presence in the United States when renewing a driver's license or nondriver identification card if the individual has continuously held a valid license or ID card since December 31, 1989 or was born before December 1, 1964.
  • In 2011, HP 803 was enacted. This act prohibited the Secretary of State from issuing a license to an applicant unless the applicant presented valid documentary evidence of legal presence in the United States.
  • In 2009, SP 492 was vetoed. If passed, it would have put Maine in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 including the requirement that the Secretary of State issue driver's licenses and nondriver identification cards only to individuals who present documentary evidence of legal presence in the United States, and the requirement that the Secretary of State participate in the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program.
  • In 2007, SP 113 was enacted as a resolution against the REAL ID Act of 2005.
  • ACLU of Maine: Affiliated with the national organization, ACLU of Maine works to protect the rights of all people through education and litigation.
  • Immigration Legal Advocacy Project ME works to create a hospitable and just environment for immigrants through education, representation, and advocacy.
  • Maine People's Alliance is a grassroots organization for social change formed in 1982.  They believe in humane immigration reform that keeps families together and respects all workers.

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.