2005 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Harden
AN ACT TO CREATE THE ACCESS TO POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION ACT, WHICH PROVIDES IN-STATE UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE TUITION RATES TO QUALIFIED IMMIGRANT STUDENTS WHO HAVE ATTENDED STATE HIGH SCHOOLS FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS; TO AMEND SECTION 37-103-23, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known as the "Access to Postsecondary Education Act."
SECTION 2. (1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) Many Mississippi immigrant high school students have lived in the state most of their lives, and are likely to remain residents. However, these students are precluded from obtaining an affordable college education because they do not qualify for in-state tuition rates. Without in-state tuition, many of these students are not able to attend college.
(b) Many of these students have already proven their academic eligibility and merit by being accepted into an institution of higher learning or a community or junior college in Mississippi.
(c) Making it possible for these students to attend college will increase the state's college-educated workforce and stimulate economic growth.
(d) This act does not confer postsecondaray education benefits on the basis of residence within the meaning of 8 USCS Section 1623.
(2) The purpose of this act is to provide educational opportunity to children who are long-time residents of Mississippi, improving the overall economic condition of the state.
SECTION 3. (1) A student, other than a nonimmigrant alien within the meaning of 8 USCS Section 1101(a)(15), shall qualify for in-state tuition rates at state-supported institutions of higher learning and community and junior colleges if the student meets all the following requirements:
(a) High school attendance in Mississippi for two (2) or more years.
(b) Graduation from a Mississippi high school or attainment of the equivalent thereof.
(c) Registration as an entering student at, or current enrollment in, an institution of higher learning or a community or junior college in Mississippi.
(d) If a person is without legal immigration status, the filing of an affidavit with an institution of higher learning or a community or junior college in Mississippi, stating that the student has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.
(2) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges shall prescribe rules and regulations for the implementation of this section. Student information obtained in the implementation of this section shall be confidential.
(3) A state court may award only prospective injunctive and declaratory relief to a party in any lawsuit based upon this section or based upon rules and regulations prescribed to implement this section.
SECTION 4. Section 37-103-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-103-23. All aliens are classified as nonresidents, except as otherwise provided in Section 3 of this act.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.