Driving Change in Higher Education.

In light of new law, MnSCU expands residency policy

By Jessica Medearis
MSCSA Associate Director

Driven by a change in state law, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system has expanded their residency policy to include certain students without lawful immigration status. These students, referred to as undocumented, are now eligible for in-state tuition at Minnesota colleges and universities, if they meet eligibility requirements. 

These students must have attended a Minnesota high school for at least three years and graduate or attain a graduation equivalent. Students must also comply with selective service requirements and provide proof of application for legal status in the United States, if and when such a process exists. 

Under the law, known as the Prosperity Act, students who meet these requirements are also eligible for state financial aid programs. Students without lawful immigration status are still prohibited from receiving federal financial aid. The Office of Higher Education estimates 250 students have applied for state tuition and aid benefits under the new eligibility requirements. 

MnSCU’s Board of Trustees is expected to review proposed changes to the MnSCU System Policy 2.2-State Residency in January. In addition to the policy change, a revision was already made to the system’s admission application to help determine whether or not a prospective student is eligible for in-state tuition rates under the new law. Currently enrolled students who believe they may now qualify for in-state tuition benefits can appeal through their college or university.

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