Iowa State deals with undocumented students on case by case basis

Alli Kolick

Eleven states in the United States have state legislation mandating a protocol universities must use in regards to undocumented students. Iowa is not included in these 11, therefore the state’s universities deal with the issue on a case by case basis.

Marc Harding, assistant vice president of admissions, deals with recruitment and retention of students.

When dealing with Iowa State specifically, Harding said the question of how the university deals with undocumented students has less to do with admissions and more to do with residency and billing for tuition purposes.

“The admissions criteria is the same for everyone at Iowa State, undocumented or not,” Harding said.

When applying, a social security number is not required of any prospective student.

“Now, to get federal or state [financial] aid, it’s required and then that’s a financial aid question,” Harding said.

Kathleen Jones, assistant vice president of records and registration, deals more with the financial side of this issue.

When dealing with undocumented students, it is more often than not an issue with their residency, and undocumented students by definition are not residents of the state.

“There are cases where they may pay the resident rate,” Jones said.

In cases such as this, the state supports students who have lived in Iowa for a majority of their lives, went through the Iowa school system and have graduated from an Iowa high school.

“It [means] going through the student’s documentation and working with them to see what makes sense for that student,” Jones said.

This conversation usually comes about when undocumented students have lived in Iowa for a long period of time, appear as an Iowa resident but are being charged out-of-state tuition.

However, at any university, this situation is only an issue when it comes to in-state students, as out-of-state students will pay the out-of-state tuition rate regardless.

“It’s always a difficult situation because we’re dealing with people’s lives,” Jones said, stressing the importance of the fragility of these types of situations.

Jones said that though the number of cases each year are likely to be less than 10, they still present an issue she feels needs to be discussed.