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Immigrants eligible for in-state tuition in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Immigrants living in the U.S. with temporary legal status will soon be able to pay in-state tuition rates at Ohio's public colleges as long as they meet other residency requirements, according to Ohio's higher education chief.

Most of the state's two- and four-year public colleges previously charged students who are in the country illegally tuition rates that were much higher than what other Ohio students pay.

John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, sent a letter Wednesday to the state's public college presidents notifying them of the changes, the Columbus Dispatch reported ( ) Thursday. His letter followed a determination by Attorney General Mike DeWine that students in the country illegally now may qualify for in-state tuition.

Immigration advocates asking Carey for the change cited the 2012 federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Under that program, immigrants who got to the U.S. before they turned 16 may receive two years of a legal status that may be renewed. The status lets them work and drive without fear of deportation.

"We are future nurses, teachers, attorneys, engineers and technicians who are being denied the fair educational access and affordability granted to our classmates," according to a letter sent to Carey on Monday from Dream Activist Ohio.

"We may not be U.S. citizens on papers, but we are no less Ohioans than any of our high school classmates," the letter said.

In-state students will pay $10,037 in tuition and fees at Ohio State University this fall, compared with $27,000 for international students, a rate that immigrants have been charged in the past.

That savings will give students more choice in where they go to school, said Ken Robinson, a Columbus immigration lawyer.

"Having such benefits will allow more young people to come out of the shadows and not have their dreams interrupted," he said.

Ohio State is still waiting for specific guidelines on residency before it knows the impact on the university, though it should be small, said spokeswoman Amy Murray.

Columbus State Community College has identified fewer than 100 students who appear to qualify for the lower in-state tuition this fall, said spokesman Will Kopp. The college decided to offer in-state tuition to such students about a week ago. The change would save a full-time Columbus State student taking 15 credit hours $3,297.

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