By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A federal lawsuit accuses South Carolina of unconstitutionally denying college scholarships to resident U.S. citizens and forcing them to pay out-of-state tuition.
The lawsuit filed in Charleston challenges state regulations that classify would-be college students as non-residents if they cannot prove their parents are in the country legally. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of three graduates of South Carolina high schools who have lived in the state between 10 and 19 years. It seeks class-action status.
Attorney Michelle Lapointe with the Southern Poverty Law Center said Tuesday the regulations often make it impossible for talented, high-achieving citizens to afford college, as the out-of-state rate can be triple the cost of in-state tuition. Non-residents also cannot receive lottery-backed state scholarships, need-based grants or tuition assistance.