Lawmakers advance bill requiring proof of citizenship to get in-state tuition

DES MOINES — A bill in the Iowa House would require students to prove they are U-S citizens or are “lawfully present” in the U-S in order to quality for in-state tuition at the state’s public universities and community colleges.

Hector Salamanca Arroyo of Waterloo says he qualified for in-state tuition to attend DMACC  in 2011 before he received deferred-action status under DACA. He told a House subcommittee Monday that without in-state tuition, college would have been unaffordable. “Education is supposed to be the mechanism that levels the playing field,” he says, “and if an Iowa student is trying to continue their education, we shouldn’t punish them by putting higher education out of reach.”

The only supportive comments on the bill came from G-O-P lawmakers on the House panel who said Iowans should not support the tuition of immigrants who are not legally authorized to be in the U-S. The bill now goes to the full House Judiciary committee.