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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2002

Contacts:
UC News Office (510) 987-9200

AB 540 - UC TUITION EXEMPTION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. What exactly did the Board of Regents approve?

The regents conditionally approved a tuition exemption that will allow certain nonresident students (those who attended for at least three years and graduated from a California high school, and certify that they are taking steps to legalize his or her immigration status or would do so as soon as they are eligible) to be exempt from paying the Nonresident Tuition Fee. In 2001-02, the annual amount of UC's nonresident tuition fee is $10,704.

However, for the new policy to take effect, further legislative action is necessary. It is expected that the Legislature will take action this year, which means that the provisions will go into effect no later than January 2003.

2. Why did they take action at this time?

The regents' action aligns UC's tuition criteria with state policies signed into law last October (Assembly Bill 540, authored by Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh, D-Los Angeles) that apply to California State University and California Community College campuses. That legislation went into effect Jan. 1, 2002.

3. Who is potentially eligible for this new benefit?

The university estimates that between 200 and 390 currently enrolled students would be eligible for the exemption if it were in effect today. (It is expected that additional eligible students in these categories may enroll because of the lowered cost). This total includes undocumented and domestic students who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents. These documented students may have attended a California high school, but their parents did not live in California or later moved away. Students who met in-state criteria and then established residency in another state, but are now returning to California to pursue a graduate degree, may also be eligible for the new tuition exemption. The exemption will apply to both undergraduate and graduate students.

4. What will be the estimated cost to the University of California?

Costs to the university are estimated at between $2.3 million and $4.4 million, depending on the exact number of students who receive the exemption.

5. What are the criteria to qualify for this tuition exemption?

To be eligible for the tuition exemption, the student must meet all five of the following criteria:

  1. Attended a high school in California for three or more years; and

  2. Has graduated from a California high school or has attained the equivalent thereof; and

  3. Is not a nonimmigrant alien (as defined by federal law, including, for example, those who have been issued a "student" visa); and

  4. Is enrolled, or is registering to be enrolled, at the University of California after
    Jan. 1, 2002; and

  5. Is subject to the Nonresident Tuition Fee.

In addition, if the student is without lawful immigration status, the student must file an affidavit stating that he or she 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.

6. When does the exemption go into effect?

The regents' action is conditioned on additional state legislation, which would then determine when the provisions could take effect for UC students.

7. Are "home-schooled" students eligible?

A student who is "home-schooled" in an arrangement where a parent schools his or her child but does not hold a California teacher credential is not eligible, because that "school" would not meet the exemption definition of a "high school in California." The university is still in the process of determining whether students home-schooled by a credentialed teacher would qualify for the exemption.

8. Can students living out of state enroll in a private California "Internet high school," complete their course work via distance learning or correspondence, and meet the California high school enrollment and graduation requirement?

No. This type of private school would not meet the requirements of Section 48222 of the California Education Code, which defines what constitutes a "high school in California" for the purposes of exemption eligibility.

9. Does the high school enrollment have to be at the same California school and for three consecutive years?

No. The three years for a student's 9th through 12th grades need not be consecutive or completed at a single California school. For example, if a student attended 9th grade at a California middle or high school, left the state to attend 10th grade in another state, and returned to a second qualified California high school to complete 11th and 12th grades, that student would still meet the requirement of three years of high school attendance in California.

10. Does this new policy change a student's eligibility to receive financial aid?

No. Eligibility for the nonresident tuition exemption does not affect the eligibility standards or requirements for any form of student financial aid. However, if the exemption is granted retroactively, it could impact the amount and, possibly type, of financial aid a student received for the winter 2001-02 quarter (spring semester).

11. Where should students go for additional information about this new policy?

Additional information about the tuition exemption is expected to be available sometime after February 1 on the UC system Web site: www.ucop.edu/sas/sfs/ppolicies/UCTEFAQ.PDF

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