As a result of an Arizona Supreme Court ruling made earlier this year which made Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients unqualified for in-state tuition, enrollment for the socioeconomic group dropped 40 percent at the Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC).
DACA recipients, also known as ‘Dreamers’, have been struggling to continue their education because out-of-state tuition rates are too expensive for them or their families to afford. The drop in enrollment for DACA students is a larger percentage than the average fluctuations in its student population, according to AZ Central.
A majority of Dreamers in Arizona who go on to attend colleges and universities after graduating high school enroll at community colleges, usually because of its cheaper tuition rates.
Because DACA recipients were allowed to apply for work permits and receive temporary protection from U.S. deportation under an executive order enacted by former President Barack Obama in 2012, MCC permitted them to pay in-state tuition, stating the work permits was sufficient evidence of legal status.
In 2013, then-Arizona Attorney General Tom Home sued the colleges and won the case in Arizona Supreme Court. The verdict caused tuition at MCC to triple in costs, with in-state students paying $85 per credit and non-residents paying $327 per credit.