How Undocumented Students Can Pay In-State Tuition


Edgar Martinez, writer

It is not a myth that students have financial struggles in the US. However, being an undocumented student gives them extra weight to carry. Some universities deny undocumented students admission, and other schools charge them out-of-state tuition when the school admits them.

NEIU initially assigns undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition because the school needs to verify that students meet all the requirements which are:

  1. The individual resided with his or her parent or guardian while attending a public or    private high school in Illinois.
  2. The individual graduated from a public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Illinois (the GED).
  3. The individual attended school in Illinois for at least three years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma.

Students also must fill out and submit an affidavit form which the student should include with their admission letter. This form allows eligible undocumented students to access a Resident Tuition rate per credit hour. “With this legislation, undocumented students in Illinois were assigned Non-Resident Tuition at some Illinois public universities without recourse to change their rate. Note that ‘residency’ refers to physically living in Illinois, and does not refer to a student’s immigration status.” by Quitanillo Perez Rios, who is the interim Assistant Dean for Undocumented Student Resources and Student Care.

The affidavit form is easy to fill out, the student should put their basic information such as name and ID number. The students are also asked to specify whether they have a high school diploma or an equivalent to one, students must sign the form, they should include an official high school transcript or Illinois GED result and send it to the Admissions Office. 

This information is online; you can find it at the website.

  • Go to “University Life”
  • Click on  “Undocumented Student Resources”
  • Click on “Resources and Education” 
  • Go to “FAQ: NEIU Admission Funding, and Support” 
  • The link to the affidavit will be in the fourth question
  • Or simply follow this link:

There are resources at NEIU, but its reach may not always be enough. Jimena is a Computer Science major who just transferred from Malcolm X College, she did not know about the Affidavit for Eligibility for Residency Tuition form. “So, I found out I was paying out-of-state tuition when I showed my boss the fees I was going to pay as a transfer student, he told me I was paying too much for a state university. Back in Malcolm X I never paid out-of-state tuition so, I assumed they would consider me a Chicago resident… Cherry from the admissions office helped me with all the paperwork that I needed to turn in.”

Undocumented Students face obvious barriers because of their status, so it is only fair to simplify their situation. NEIU offers them many resources online, there are people and organizations who could provide some answers to assist all undocumented students.

Diana Bahena is the President of the Undocumented, Resilient, and Organized student club, they meet every other Monday. Bahena admits NEIU has to work on its way of helping undocumented students, she says “Our institution still needs a lot of help regarding being more undocu-friendly to the Undocumented community here at NEIU. I have had other issues regarding them not paying me for a job I completed (because they did not know how to pay an Undocumented student) which was also not okay.”

After some time without an Assistant Dean for Undocumented Students, NEIU hired Rios Perez during the summer. Diana Bahena, says “Since they have hired Quintiliano ‘Quinti’ Rios Perez as the interim Assistant Dean for Undocumented Student Resources and Student Care back at the beginning of the Summer 2022 semester, things have been getting a tad better slowly but surely.”

Every student faces different struggles daily, we should empathize with one another, create a safe environment for everyone and continue educating ourselves regarding our different battles. The division between each other will be less noticeable if we understand each other.