Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on Tuesday said state-supported institutions of higher education do not have the authority to create discounted tuition categories for undocumented students without legislative approval.
The opinion came in response to a query from the Colorado Community College System after Metropolitan State College of Denver's decision earlier this month to create a new tuition rate for illegal immigrant students.
Suthers said Metro's new rate creates a "public benefit." Under state law, public benefits can only be given to individuals who can prove their lawful presence in the United States.
Metro created its new rate, $3,358 per semester, not long after the state Legislature failed to pass the ASSET bill, which would have created a discounted tuition category for undocumented students from across the state. Falling under its nonresident student category, Metro's new rate is about $4,600 less than an out-of-state student would pay.