Nonresident fee bill stalled

Senate Bill 68 exempts nonresidents from out-of-state fee

By Roxana Amparo, Editor-in-Chief

Under Senator Ricardo Lara’s proposed legislation, SB 68, two years of community college equates to current three-year requirements or that of a high school diploma or GED.

The bill, which exempts undocumented students from paying the out-of-state fee of $283 per unit while attending a community college in California, is currently on hold and has been placed on suspension since April 17, according to the California State Legislative site.

Although the bill passed with a majority vote of seven from a Senate committee, the bill is suspended until further notice.

If approved by the Senate, undocumented students will be able to qualify for in-state tuition at a $46 per unit fee at a California community college or  a California State University.

The bill was introduced on Jan. 5 and amended for the first time on March 29.

District Director of Communications and Community Relations Timothy Leong said SB 68 was placed on suspense since it had expenses “beyond the allowable threshold.”

“If it comes off suspense, we project the item will be moved to the Senate Floor for a vote.  However, should it be passed on the Senate floor, it will still need to be approved on the Assembly side and signed by the governor,” Leong said.

There are existing laws on the books for undocumented students, such as Assembly Bill 540, which was signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis on Oct. 12, 2001.

AB 540 exempts students from paying nonresident tuition at CCC and other California community colleges and universities if the student attended high school for at least three years and graduated, or received a GED or certificate of equivalency.

Financial Aid Supervisor Monica Rodriguez said AB 131, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, allows eligible  undocumented students who meet the AB 540 criteria to apply for financial aid.

Rodriguez said the laws increase the chances for undocumented students to receive financial aid, but they already receive aid through other bills such as AB 540

Rodriguez said with SB 68 in place, the requirements might change or more might be added for undocumented students to meet.

The undocumented students meeting the AB 540 criteria of completing three or more years at a California high school could also benefit from the passage of SB 68.