University of Hawaii Could Treat Illegal Immigrants As 'Residents'

University of Hawaii

In the midst of the national debate over immigration, the University of Hawaii system is poised to begin treating undocumented students as state residents — a move that would make it less expensive to attend college and open up career paths for perhaps hundreds of young people.

The state Senate’s lone Republican, Sam Slom, however, called the move an "end run" around the Legislature. The proposed policy change comes one year after Hawaii lawmakers rejected a similar proposal.

Still, Lui Hokoana, the university’s associate vice president for student affairs, said he expects the university’s Board of Regents on Thursday to approve the proposal, which would charge the students in-state tuition, if they meet certain criteria.

Illegal immigrants now pay non-resident tuition of $11,000 per semester at UH's Manoa campus. As residents, they would pay $4,000 per semester. State residents attending UH community colleges pay approximately $1,200 per semester, compared to $3,500 per semester for non-residents.

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