Sharing Ideas: tuition equity for undocumented students

Sharing Ideas: tuition equity for undocumented students

Many schools and organizations participating in Oregon College Application Week work with students who are undocumented. You may or may not know which of your students are undocumented, and it is important that you are prepared to support all of your students, regardless of their immigration status. Therefore, we're offering the following information and sharing how some schools are planning to serve this population of students during their CAW event.

In April of 2013, tuition equity became the law of the land in Oregon. Eligible undocumented students are exempt from nonresident tuition and fees at Oregon's seven public universities. You can learn more details by reading the Q&A for Students on Tuition Equity document.

Briefly, eligible students

  1. have received a high school diploma or GED in Oregon no more than three years before enrolling in an Oregon public university;
  2. have attended an Oregon elementary or secondary school during each of the three years prior to earning a high school diploma or leaving school before earning a diploma;
  3. have attended an elementary or secondary school in the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, during each of the five years prior to earning a high school diploma or leaving school before earning a diploma; and
  4. show intention to become a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.

The only way for them to "show intention to become a citizen or lawful permanent resident" for the purposes of accessing in-state tuition, they must submit the Affidavit and Request for Exemption from Nonresident Tuition and Fees. This form must be completed, signed, and notarized for each Oregon public university to which the student applies.

There are many options for how you might support students during your event. We recommend that you consider which option(s) will work best within your community. At a minimum, we encourage you to provide easy access to the Q&A and Affidavits for any students who might be eligible for tuition equity. Here are some other ideas:

  1. One participating high school, which has a staff member who is a notary public, plans to make that person available to notarize affidavits for students during their CAW events.
  2. Print out copies of the Affidavit form and have them next to copies of other forms that students may need to use to complete their applications - Application Fee Deferral and Waiver Forms, for example.
  3. Offer workshops on applying to different types of college or universities. Include information suitable for undocumented students in each one, providing the critical information on tuition equity in a session on applying to public four-year universities in Oregon.
  4. Designate one "expert" person to answer questions about special circumstances during your event. Avoid alienating or outing undocumented students by providing a list of the types of circumstances that the person is available to assist with, and include items that any typical student at your school might need - fee waivers or deferrals, requesting transcripts or letters of recommendation, etc.

If you've got other ideas about how to best serve undocumented students during your CAW event, please share them in the comments below. Looking for other ideas from colleagues? Click on the blue or green icon to the right.