Court rules that undocumented students in California will continue to pay in-state tuition

In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court today ruled that some undocumented immigrants will be able to continue to pay the same tuition offered to in-state high school students to attend public community colleges and universities.

The ruling upholds California's law, known as AB 540, which provides this benefit to individuals who have completed three years of study in a California high school and have earned a diploma.

The ruling reversed a decision by another court that had determined that undocumented immigrants, even if they lived and studied in California, should be treated as "nonresidents" when it came to paying their tuition.

Republican Congressmen Lamar S. Smith of Texas and Steve King of Iowa had filed a legal action to get undocumented immigrants denied the lower college tuition rate.

In 2005, an anti-immigrant group filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of AB 540, arguing that it violated federal law. In its decision, the Court explained that although the federal government may restrict some state powers, states retain the power to give undocumented students meaningful access to a college education.

According to Agencia EFE, it is estimated that 25,000 undocumented students benefit from economic rates to study in California universities.