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Bill Asks Legislative Council To Study Impact Of Tuition Law

The state required colleges to start charging the higher rates last year.

A clock tower on IU's campus is surrounded by a snowy scene.

Photo: Bill Shaw

Around one thousand students across the nine Indiana University campuses now have to pay out-of-state tuition because they declared themselves undocumented.

The Indiana Senate has passed a resolution proposing the state study the impact of charging undocumented students out-of-state tuition.

Indiana House Bill 1402 forced colleges and universities to check the citizenship status of all enrolled students after it passed last year. The Indiana Senate passed a resolution this week asking the state legislative council to study the impact of that law. Senator Jean Leising, who proposed the resolution, says the tuition changes have created a roadblock for undocumented students wanting to attend college.

“Currently in Indiana and every other state we educate kids in K to 12 with no questions asked. So now you set up kids that are graduating from high school, and they’re ready to apply for college, and under the new law they’re no longer eligible for in-state tuition,” Leising says.

The law has also interrupted the college careers of many undocumented students who were enrolled when the law went into effect. Around one thousand students across the nine Indiana University campuses now have to pay out-of-state tuition because they declared themselves undocumented. IU spokesperson Mark Land says the change in the law forced those students to make a tough choice.

“Basically I think 3 things happened. Either A, people could afford to pay the much higher out-of-state tuition, and they went ahead and registered for a full load of classes. Or I know that some took fewer courses because they couldn’t afford it, and I’m sure there were some who just dropped out,” Land says.

Before the law took effect, Land says IU only needed to know 3 things to grant a student in-state tuition: that a student had graduated from an Indiana high school and that they had good grades and test scores.

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