The University of North Texas can’t charge out-of-state students higher tuition than undocumented students who qualify as in-state residents, a federal judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan’s ruling could create a barrier for public universities to charge out-of-state tuition and could lead the state legislature to end in-state tuition for undocumened students, according to Yahoo News.
Jordan ruled in the favor of the Young Conservatives of Texas, who filed a law against the school in late 2020.
The group claimed that by allowing undocumented students to pay less than out-of-state students, the school is violating the Illegal Immigration Reform Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The law states migrants living in the country unlawfully can’t qualify for postsecondary education benefits unless the same benefit is made available to all U.S citizens regardless of their residence.
“Because Texas’s nonresident tuition scheme directly conflicts with Congress’s express prohibition on providing eligibility for postsecondary education benefits, it is preempted and therefore unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause,” said Jordan.
If the ruling is upheld, universities could potentially lose millions in revenue and could lead the state legislature to end in-state tuition for undocumened students.
The average annual cost of tuition and fees at UNT is nearly $12,000 for an in-state student and about $24,000 for an out-of-state student.