Undocumented students are born outside of the United States and do not have the proper documentation to reside in the U.S. A majority of undocumented students are brought into the country at a young age by their parents and therefore did not have the choice of whether to enter the United States legally or not. Since most arrive as babies or young children, America is the only home they know.
Undocumented students are a part of the K-12 education system. Federal laws do not prevent undocumented students from entering colleges and universities. However, undocumented students do not qualify for federal financial aid, many scholarships, and most federally financed programs.
House Bill 1079 was signed by Governor Gary Locke on May 7, 2003. HB-1079 allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities starting July 1, 2003. Under Washington state law, students who are not U.S. citizens or permanents residents may qualify for in-state tuition if they meet certain guidelines.
Students may be eligible to pay in-state tuition rates if they meet all of the following three criteria:
- Received a diploma from a Washington high school or the equivalent of a diploma in Washington State.
- Lived in Washington for at least three calendar years (not school years) prior to receiving their diploma or its equivalent.
- Continuously resided in Washington since receiving the high school diploma or its equivalent.