Out-of-state students should stop challenging tuition rates

UNT students sue school for out-of-state tuition costs


Denton Record Chronicle

The University of North Texas was founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College.

Bethany Mann, Staff Writer

A federal judge ruled on April 8 that the University of North Texas can’t charge out-of-state students more than undocumented students. The decision came after a group of out-of-state UNT students sued their school because of their higher tuition rates

This is ridiculous. 

Currently, undocumented students who have lived in Texas for at least three years are charged in-state tuition by all public schools while citizens only have to live in Texas for a year before qualifying for in-state tuition. If the students were truly upset about their rates, they would have sued against in-state tuition altogether, not just for undocumented students. This ruling came from a place of privilege and is taking opportunities away from those who need them the most.

If this case continues to travel up the courts, in-state and out-of-state tuition may be done away with altogether. Texas residents receive lower tuition rates at public universities because they pay taxes towards all public schools. If the UNT students win, tuition rates may meet in the middle for every university, meaning students will pay, on average, $25,000 per semester. This brings no benefit to Texas residents paying taxes, and puts extra financial strain on those seeking an education.

If these students truly feel that they are paying too much for tuition, they do not have to go out-of-state for their post secondary education. There are plenty of universities across the country with programs equal to those at UNT. The students put themselves in this “unfair” situation, not the state. It is not fair to blame undocumented students seeking an education for their high tuition rates.

The students main argument stems from the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 which states an individual “who does not legally reside in the United States should not be eligible for a postsecondary education benefit granted on the basis of where someone lives unless United States citizens qualify for the same benefit.” However, this is superseded by the 2001 law which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. The 1996 ruling does not justify their lawsuit which comes from a place of privilege.

The UNT lawsuit is unlawful, unconstitutional and unfair.