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Ohio Policy

Updated As Of: April 7, 2017

According to Ohio state statute, undocumented students are not eligible to receive in-state tuition.  However, as of July 2013, the Ohio Board of Regents declared that DACA recipients qualify for in-state tuition if they meet all other criteria for residency under Ohio law. 
  • The Ohio Legislature, through its 2011-2013 state appropriations bill, adopted a restrictive policy that prohibited public colleges and universities in the state from extending in-state tuition to undocumented students.
  • In 2012, SB 357, which would allow public colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, was introduced but failed to pass.
  • HB 254, introduced in 2013, would prohibit Ohio’s Board of Regents from giving in-state tuition to DACA recipient but failed to pass.
  • Introduced in February 2011, SB 98 would have given local police the ability to enforce federal immigration laws but failed to pass.
  • Introduced in June 2011, HB 286 would have required all Ohio employers to use E-Verify to verify employees citizenship status. The bill died in committee.
  • HB 580 was introduced but failed to pass. It would have authorized law enforcement to check the immigration status of those stopped, detained, or arrested.
  • SB 323, prohibiting undocumented immigrants from collecting workers’ compensation benefits and shielding employers from undocumented employee injury liability, failed to pass in 2012.
  • In April 2013, the Ohio state house entertained HB 114, which would have prevented DACA recipients from receiving drivers’ licenses.  DACA recipients are currently eligible for drivers’ licenses.
  • In 2013, Cincinnati and Dayton passed resolutions declaring them, “immigrant friendly cities.”
  • SB 176, introduced in 2013, would prohibit undocumented workers from receiving worker’s compensation or damages for work-related injury but failed to pass.
  • Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center: Along with a focus on nonviolence, IJPC organizes in support of comprehensive immigration reform.
  • ACLU Ohio: Affiliated with the national organization, ACLU educates, lobbies, and litigates in order to preserve civil liberties for all.

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.