The Texas Legislative Guide was designed and developed by Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht, Daniel Craigmile, Annie Daniel, Ben Hasson and Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune. The Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.
When Texas adopted a law in 2001 allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates to attend public universities, it was the first state to do so. Despite pushback from within his own party — at home and on the presidential campaign trail — former Gov. Rick Perry has stood by the decision, and the policy has remained in effect.
But following Perry’s departure from the Governor's Mansion, the future of the Texas DREAM Act has been uncertain. Heading into the 2015 legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick vowed to repeal it, and Gov. Greg Abbott indicated he would not veto a bill that did just that.
Still, the measure got little traction in the Legislature. House leadership had no appetite for it, and though a Senate bill to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students made it out of committee, the more conservative upper chamber couldn't muster the votes to bring it up for a vote. By the final days of the session, the measure was effectively dead — at least until 2017.
Opponents of the DREAM Act argue that the law is, among other things, unfair to legal U.S. citizens from other states who must pay higher out-of-state tuition rates at Texas public universities. But supporters say it helps young people who ended up in Texas through no fault of their own become more productive participants in the workforce.
Updated: June 1, 2015
- Help for the Hazlewood tuition program
- Tuition revenue bonds for campus construction
- Reining in rising tuition
- In-state tuition for undocumented students
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