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MCCCD board may delay hike in tuition

The Maricopa County Community College District governing board has scheduled a special meeting today to consider delaying a tuition increase that affects illegal-immigrant students.

Board members will meet at 6 p.m. to address the change in tuition policy that they approved in March. The change was scheduled to take effect this fall.

The board also may vote to ask the state attorney general for an opinion on the tuition issue.

Critics of the tuition increase, including many undocumented students, have attended the last three governing-board meetings, spending an hour or more of public-comment time imploring board members to reverse their decision.

The 10-college system has been required to charge the out-of-state tuition rate for undocumented students since Proposition 300 passed in 2007.

But Maricopa, along with most other community-college districts in the state, hasn’t been charging that rate to students who took six or fewer credits.

This has allowed illegal-immigrant students, and anyone who’s not a resident of Maricopa County, to earn their degrees at a lower cost by taking one or two classes per semester.

Undocumented students in Maricopa County were able to pay the “unclassified student” rate of $96 per credit hour.

In March, the board closed that loophole, and starting with the fall 2011 semester, everyone who is not a legal resident of Maricopa County – including undocumented students – will pay $317 per credit hour, no matter how many credits are taken.

Last week, the board approved a 3 percent increase in the property-tax levy to raise $11.3 million in revenue.

Of the dozen people who spoke against the tax increase during the public hearing, half tied their

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