Posted on July 30, 2023

University of North Texas Can Charge Out-Of-State Students Higher Tuition Than Undocumented Texans, Appeals Court Rules

Kate McGee, Texas Tribune, July 10, 2023

The University of North Texas can charge out-of-state American citizens higher tuition than undocumented students who live in Texas, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The appeals court reversed a federal district court ruling that had blocked the practice.


If the appeals court had upheld the previous ruling, the decision would’ve had broad implications for all public universities in the state that financially rely on charging out-of-state students higher rates.

In its decision, the appeals court said the lower court misinterpreted federal statute, also ruling that U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan abused his discretion {snip}

But the court did leave the door open to future challenges of other aspects of Texas’ in-state tuition law.


Rob Henneke, executive director and general counsel of the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation, said Monday’s ruling is only a minor victory for UNT. {snip}


The lawsuit centers on Texas’ 2001 law allowing undocumented students who have lived in Texas for three years and graduate from a Texas high school to pay in-state tuition.

Three years ago, TPPF filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Young Conservatives of Texas student group at UNT. In the lawsuit, they pointed out that the federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 states that an individual “who does not legally reside in the United States should not be eligible for a postsecondary education benefit granted on the basis of where someone lives unless United States citizens qualify for the same benefit.”