Attorney General Suthers Releases Opinion On In-State Tuition For Citizen Children Of Illegal Immigrants

DENVER –  In response to a question posed by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers today released a formal opinion on whether children who are legal citizens of the United States can receive in-state tuition from state colleges and universities in Colorado, even if their parents are in the country illegally.

“After carefully reviewing state and federal law, my office has determined that legal residents of the state of Colorado can be eligible for in-state tuition rates, regardless of their parents’ immigration status,” commented Attorney General Suthers. “It is important to note that U.S. citizens who are the children of persons not lawfully in this country must, just like any other child, establish that their families were domiciled in Colorado during the preceding 12 months.”

The opinion states, in pertinent part:

“Because it is the student, rather than the parents, who is the legal beneficiary of in-state tuition status, the fact that the parents may be in the country illegally is not a bar to the student’s receipt of that benefit. … Under Colorado’s current statutory system, an undocumented alien can establish domicile in Colorado. Therefore, an unemancipated minor child who is a U.S. citizen can qualify for in-state tuition if his or her parents can establish domicile in the state, irrespective of the immigration status of the parents.”

Today’s formal legal opinion was issued at the request of Colorado Department of Higher Education executive director David Skaggs. The opinion represents the Department of Law’s non-binding interpretation of statute.

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