University of North Texas Amicus Brief

The Presidents’ Alliance has submitted an amicus brief in support of the University of North Texas (UNT) in the appeals case in the Fifth Circuit of Young Conservatives of Texas Foundation v. Smatresk, et. al. In this case, UNT was sued for charging out-of-state U.S. citizens more than in-state undocumented students.

Texas state law extends in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students if they meet a number of requirements, including graduating from a Texas high school (or equivalent). The federal district court ruled against UNT, finding that the Texas law setting higher out-of-state tuition for U.S. citizens is preempted by federal law. The Presidents’ Alliance agrees with UNT that the Texas state law is not preempted by the 1996 federal law. See the Presidents’ Alliance legislative recommendations regarding the 1996 IIRIRA law for additional context.

The amicus brief focuses on the economic and social importance of helping all Texas students achieve a postsecondary education, the historical background and purpose for establishing higher non-resident tuition, and the devastating consequences for Texas public institutions if the district court’s ruling was upheld. The brief was drafted by Raffi Melkonian, Michael Adams-Hurta, and Ruben C. Garza at Wright Close & Barger, LLP.

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