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Texas In-State Tuition: What You Need to Know

In 2001, then-Governor Rick Perry signed the Texas Dream Act, House Bill (H.B.) 1403, which provides the state’s eligible undocumented students, including DACA recipients, with access to in-state tuition and state financial aid. Out-of-state tuition rates are typically three times higher than in-state rates, on average. Thanks in part to this law-making higher education more affordable, approximately 59,000 undocumented students are currently enrolled in higher education in Texas and are poised to be important parts of the state’s future workforce.

State of Play In-State Tuition in Texas

There have been multiple attempts to repeal this law since 2001, including in 2023, but each has failed. In April 2022, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the University of North Texas cannot charge out-of-state U.S. students higher tuition than is charged to undocumented Texas students, who qualify for in-state tuition rates as per the 2001 Texas law. UNT lawyers appealed the decision. In July 2023, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision reversing the federal district court decision. While the Fifth Circuit affirmed the current rule of law, the decision included language suggesting that other provisions of the 2001 state law may be preempted by federal law. However, the Fifth Circuit did not rule on that issue, as that was not before the court. A mandate from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was scheduled to be issued on August 1, 2023, but a member of the court requested a poll for a rehearing en banc (for the full court to reconsider the case). On August 4, 2023 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied rehearing en banc, with one judge voting in favor of rehearing and 15 against rehearing. The mandate was issued on the same day, concluding the case.

This resource includes information and data related to the benefits of keeping In-state tuition for Dreamers in Texas. The resource covers the following topics and arguments:

  • Requirements for In-state tuition for Dreamers in Texas
  • Comparison of In-State Tuition vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Texas
  • Benefits of Keeping In-state tuition for Dreamers
  • The Dream.US Student Narratives

Additional Resources 

The Economic Cost of Repealing In-State Tuition in Texas | American Immigration Council

Overview: Eligibility For In-State Tuition and State Financial Programs (texas.gov)

EO_2019_TxDreamAct.pdf (everytexan.org)

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