The Maricopa Community Colleges have tripled the tuition per credit hour for immigrant youth.  The current tuition rate for non-residents in the Maricopa Community Colleges is $96 per credit.  This made it possible for organizations like the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition to advise students to take one or two classes at the community colleges for just under $600, at least until the DREAM Act passed.  The new tuition rate for non-residents is $317, meaning students would have to pay $1,000 for just one class.

Call it drop-out through tuition hike.  Enrollment of immigrant youth in higher education institutions is dramatically decreasing.  While immigrant youth are legally able to attend colleges and universities, the rise of tuition is becoming unreachable for immigrant youth.  In 2006, Arizona voters passed Prop 300, which forced immigrant youth to pay out-of-state tuition while denying them the ability to apply for merit-based public scholarships.  Students that can’t afford a full schedule in a community college have usually opted for a part-time schedule of about 6 credit hours.  The option to continue their education with a part-time but more affordable schedule is soon disappearing.

Although immigrant youth find it harder then their peers to continue their education, it is not just immigrant youth affected by state-wide tuition hikes.  Arizona State University students created a group called Stop Education Exploitation to organize against tuition hikes.  Students will hopefully figure out that this attack on education is on ALL students, just like the attack on immigrants is against ALL working-class Americans.  Common targets make for good partnerships.  Unity is key.

The Maricopa Community College Board needs to hear from students affected.  The next board meeting is April 26, 2011.  The public will be able to speak.

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