Calif. Illegals Have Right to In-State Tuition: Court Undocumented who went to state high schools qualify for lower rates By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Nov 16, 2010 4:24 AM CST Updated Nov 16, 2010 6:30 AM CST 33 comments Comments Students and others against hikes in student fees or tuition stage a protest at California State University headquarters. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) (Newser) – California's Supreme Court has upheld a law allowing illegal immigrants to pay the same lower tuition fees as legal residents. The court decided that the law—which extends in-state tuition rates to anybody who studied at a California high school for 3 years before entering a university—is not based on residency and therefore does not conflict with a federal law banning illegal immigrants from receiving residency-based college benefits, the Los Angeles Times reports. Roughly 400 University of California students are undocumented. "Through their hard work and perseverance, these students have earned the opportunity to attend UC," said the system's president. "Their accomplishments should not be disregarded nor their futures jeopardized." The unanimous California ruling is likely to affect similar cases nationwide. Lawyers who brought the case on behalf of out-of-state students paying the higher tuition rate—which can amount to as much as $11,000 extra a year—plan to appeal to the US Supreme Court.