The University of California system welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to review a California state law that allows some undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities and community colleges.

By declining to accept the case, the justices effectively upheld the California Supreme Court's November 2010 ruling in favor of state law AB 540, which was enacted in 2001.

"We are very pleased with the conclusion of the litigation," the UC system's general counsel and vice president for legal affairs, Charles Robinson, said in a statement.

"We also are gratified that students who have attended and graduated from high school in California and who have achieved the academic accomplishments to qualify for UC will continue to have access to affordable higher education opportunities, irrespective of their immigration status," he said.

AB 540 is applicable to any student who attends a California high school for three years and graduates.

UC stressed that the percentage of U.S. citizens and legal residents benefiting from the measure has been better than 67 percent every year since AB 540 took effect in 2002-2003.

The law was challenged in 2005 by plaintiffs who claimed AB 540 contravened federal immigration laws that bar states from extending certain educational benefits to resident undocumented immigrants without offering the same consideration to non-resident U.S. citizens.

When California's Supreme Court rejected the suit last year, the plaintiffs asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

Organizations such as the Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights of Los Angeles and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center joined the UC system in hailing the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to accept the case for review.

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