Massachusetts Governor Allows In-state Tuition for Qualifying Illegal Immigrants

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that qualified illegal immigrants will be granted the ability to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

Immigrant educationImmigration and higher education are crossing paths again in recent news. Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that qualified illegal immigrants will be granted the ability to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about a similar program created by The University of California—Los Angeles (UCLA) that was shut down before it got off the ground. The program was different in that it only existed online and through UCLA, but similar in that the cost for illegal immigrants to earn college credits through the program was significantly lower than even the in-state tuition rate for California residents.

The decision in Massachusetts comes on the heels of President Obama launching the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) federal program in June. Under this program, qualified immigrants age 30 and under are protected from being deported for two years and are eligible to apply for a work permit. The Obama administration left the decision up to individual states as to whether to allow immigrants who qualify for DACA to pay in-state tuition rates. Governor Patrick sent a letter to the Board of Higher Education on Monday, November 26 to request that all 29 Massachusetts public colleges and universities take the tuition changes into effect immediately. Current students who qualify may request a refund for the current semester, but all prior semesters will not be refunded.

This equates to significant savings for qualified immigrants who are now eligible to pay in-state tuition rates which, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for example, is around a $13,000 savings compared to the out-of-state cost.

This is not the first time the Massachusetts state house has been faced with the issue. In 2004, a bill was passed that would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, but the governor at the time, Mitt Romney, rejected it. In 2005, the Senate attempted to pass a similar bill but it was declined by the House in 2006.

There are ongoing debates revolving around this topic across the country, and even politicians in Massachusetts are butting heads. According to an NECN article, Republican leader of the Massachusetts House, State Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr., believes that measures should be taken to stop illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition rates because it doesn’t focus on the needs of legal Massachusetts citizens.

This promotes questions: Will children of illegal immigrants be taking the spots of legal immigrants in Massachusetts public colleges and universities? Will there be any effect on Massachusetts taxpayers? Will public colleges and universities have to put more federal dollars into schools to accommodate for an influx of students? This topic will continue to raise controversy amongst politicians and citizens alike.

Where do you stand on the issue? Enter your comments below.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Deval Patrick illegal immigrants illegal immigrants education immigration immigration and education ucla UMass Amherst

About Kristen Healy

Kristen Healy

Kristen is an Assistant Editor at Wintergreen Orchard House, a sub-division of Carnegie Communications, where she manages data for Midwestern colleges and universities. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Journalism and Communication and a minor in Political Science. She is psyched about blogging about Public Colleges and Universities seeing as she is a proud product of one. She hopes that her four years at the Massachusetts state flagship campus will help her to bring new light to a broad range of topics that can relate to attending a public college or university. Her college career was spent writing for the news section of UMass’s Daily Collegian, volunteering at the university television studio, and enjoying the sites and activities of downtown Amherst. Kristen loves to travel and spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, where she gained perspective of what it is like to attend a large university in another country. She hopes her experiences in public higher education will help guide readers through their own college journeys!

You can circle Kristen on Google+, follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to her CollegeXpress blog.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress is a multi-maneuver platform that has been helping students in their college applications and scholarship hunt process. For me, CollegeXpress has been a boon. I've been able to find my dream university via CX, and I've also been able to apply to thousands of scholarships through it. All the thanks to CollegeXpress for doing such a great job for free. I express my sincere gratitude to you for doing such a wonderful job. I recommend CollegeXpress without any reservations.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me organize the schools I wanted to choose from in one place, which then I could easily compare and find the school that was right for me!

Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

Maria  Fernanda

Maria Fernanda

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress is always telling you with time to spare when to apply for certain scholarships, what they require, and if you’re eligible or not. They also provide helpful tips for both incoming college students and current college students, such as what to absolutely have in your dorm.

Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

College Matches