All students deserve equal access to quality education. Unfortunately, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students who have graduated from Ohio high schools are being treated as out-of-state or international students. This means we're charged 2 or 3 times more for college tuition than their high school classmates! We're also barred from receiving any state or federal financial aid, which puts college out of reach for too many of us.
The Ohio Board of Regents administers Ohio's policies for all public colleges and universities. We must urge Chancellor John Carey to instruct them to treat DACA recipients just like any other Ohio student. The Ohio Attorney General has already told Board of Regents that DACA students qualify. Why won't Chancellor Carey share this with Ohio colleges?
Chancellor John Carey
Ohio Board of Regents
25 South Front St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Chancellor Carey:
We write to you on behalf of students across Ohio who dream of pursuing an education at our state’s great public colleges and universities. We are future nurses, teachers, attorneys, engineers, and technicians who are being denied the fair educational access and affordability granted to our classmates.
As recipients of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, we may not be US citizens on paper, but we are no less Ohioan than any of our high school classmates. The Department of Homeland Security is clear that we are lawfully present in the country. Therefore we meet the definition of “non-immigrant” in ORC 3333.31, qualifying us as residents of Ohio for tuition purposes. Yet day after day, college-ready DACA students in Ohio are being charged as out-of-state or international students, or worse—being refused admission completely.
As you know, Ohio Board of Regents administers Ohio’s policies for our colleges and universities, and in this case, the schools are in dire need of direction regarding admissions for DACA students. They tell us that they have repeatedly requested this guidance from your office over the past several months, but to no avail. Time is running out for us this fall. The class of 2017 is enrolling, taking placement tests, and buying books. All the while we are left in the shadows.
We come from hard working, tax-paying Ohio families. We are buckeyes, not international students. Tuition equity for us is not just about self-interest; we want the opportunity to earn a degree and contribute more to our communities. We also believe this is to the benefit of our colleges and the State. Better student retention and success rates are good for everyone.
As a State, Ohio must do a better job of attacking the perception that college is financially unattainable for students like us. Too many of our friends have already given up, assuming they could never afford to pay double or triple the in-state rates.
We urge you to share with Ohio’s higher education community the clarification offered by Attorney General Mike DeWine stating that DACA recipients do in fact qualify for in-state tuition rates.
DREAM Activist Ohio and Community Supporters