Presidents’ Alliance Submits Amicus Brief in Support of University of North Texas

District court ruling would place Court in role of running state higher educational policy

August 2, 2022
CONTACT: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

WASHINGTON, D.C.— 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. The 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. 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. 

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director of the Presidents’ Alliance, stated: “States can affirmatively extend in-state tuition eligibility to undocumented students if they meet certain requirements. For more than a century, public higher education institutions have distinguished between residents and non-residents in setting tuition fees. The extra money non-resident tuition generates is a crucial part of the blend of revenues that allow universities and colleges to provide excellent and affordable public education.” 

Read the new amicus brief here


The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities, and nation. We work to advance just, forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus levels that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 550 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.