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30 J.C. & U.L. 435 (2003-2004)
IIRIRA, the Dream Act, and Undocumented College Student Residency

handle is hein.journals/jcolunly30 and id is 463 raw text is: IRIRA, THE DREAM ACT, AND
UNDOCUMENTED COLLEGE STUDENT
RESIDENCY
MICHAEL A. OLIVAS*
In a series of articles beginning twenty years ago, I began to review the complex
practices and conflicting policies to track college residency issues.' This arcane
field of interest has grown into a cottage industry, especially as the stakes have
increased: when tuitions were low, the differences between charges to in-state
resident students and out-of-state nonresident students were modest in scope, and
need-based financial aid programs and fee waivers often made up these differences
on a student's fee bill. As tuitions have increased, especially nonresident tuitions,
and as need-based assistance has given way to increased use of loans to finance
student assistance, however, these issues of who is eligible to receive resident
tuition have ratcheted up.
College residency issues have become so complex and contentious that I once
likened them to the movie Rashomon:
This essay is about a Rashomon-like case. It is, alternatively, an
admissions case, an immigration matter, a taxpayer suit, a state civil
procedure issue, an issue of preemption, a question of higher education
tuition and finance, a civil rights case, and a political issue. In addition
to being a true story, it is also representative of the stories of many other
similarly-situated persons who seek admission to college. From a social
science perspective, this case is a subset of admissions cases, and a very
specific subset at that: it is an immigration-related admissions case. At
bottom, though, it is a story about college-aged kids who have lived
* Michael A. Olivas is William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of
Houston Law Center, Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance
(IHELG), and Associate Dean for Student Life at the UHLC. This research was undertaken with
partial support from the Arizona State University, College of Education. The author wishes to
acknowledge the assistance of Kristen Weiner, Dr. Augustina H. Reyes, James A. Ferg-Cadima,
Victor C. Romero, Stephen H. Legomsky, and Deborah Jones Ogbechie. Of course, all errors are
mine, and I hereby indemnify all these colleagues.
1. See, e.g., Michael A. Olivas, Postsecondary Residency Requirements: Empowering
Statutes, Governing Types, and Exemptions, 16 C. L. DIG. 268 (1986); Michael A. Olivas, State
Residency Requirements: Postsecondary Authorization and Regulation, 13 C. L. DIG. 157 (1983),
reprinted in AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGIATE REGISTRARS AND ADMISSIONS OFFICERS
& NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY ATTORNEYS, LEGAL GUIDE FOR
ADMISSIONS OFFICERS AND REGISTRARS 47 (1985).

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