Last semester, 207 students at Arizona State University couldn’t prove they live in the United States legally and became some of the first Arizona residents to be charged out-of-state tuition.
The university, in complying with Proposition 300, checked the status of the 46,217 residents who enrolled, said Sharon Keeler, an ASU spokeswoman.
The voter initiative, which passed overwhelmingly in 2006, requires public colleges and universities to make sure the students paying in-state tuition are U.S. citizens or immigrated here legally.
The figures are far smaller than those ASU and the University of Arizona provided in June, the first time they reported their students’ status.
At the time, the universities said about 1,500 students combined hadn’t provided documentation to prove they live here legally.
UA whittled its share down to 119 of its in-state students in its most recent report, filed last week.
In-state tuition — $4,821 this school year — is less than one-third of what students from other states and countries pay at Arizona’s three public universities.
State taxpayers cover the rest of the cost of residents’ higher education.
While the universities charged students who couldn’t prove legal residency the higher rate, at ASU, few had to pay it themselves.
The ASU Foundation, an independent university fundraising group, gave private scholarships to a number of those students, which covered their additional tuition costs.
ASU President Michael Crow has said the scholarships totaled $1.8 million, enough to assist about 150 full-time students.
State Treasurer Dean Martin, who led the effort to pass Prop. 300, asked the Arizona Board of Regents to investigate the private scholarships after Crow disclosed them in September.
Martin said he worried ASU violated the new law by mixing scholarships for illegal immigrants with taxpayer dollars.
Doing so would have turned the private donations into public money, which illegal immigrants cannot receive under Prop. 300.
The regents denied Martin’s request for an investigation.
Regent Fred Boice wrote Martin a letter in October explaining the arrangement.
“The private funds used ... were not gifted to ASU and were not pooled with or co-mingled with general scholarship funds,” Boice wrote. “Rather, ASU merely acted as a conduit for these private funds, disbursing them on behalf of the ASU Foundation.”
Anne Barton, the regents’ spokeswoman, said the board considers the matter resolved.
However, Martin is waiting for more information before he withdraws his investigation request.
“They haven’t provided the documentation that he requested,” said Kimberly Yee, the treasurer’s government affairs director.
Keeler said ASU could not disclose how many of the 207 students who couldn’t prove legal residency remain enrolled, or how many received private scholarships.
The university has spent $115,000 to check students’ status.
By the numbers
Students enrolled at ASU last semester
Number who could not prove they live in the United States legally