Undocumented students face barriers to higher education

Apr 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research released by the College Board shows that because of financial barriers and exclusion from the legal workforce, only a fraction of undocumented high school graduates go on to college. The board advocates passage of a Congressional act that would provide more people the means to a college degree -- without harming U.S. citizens.

"Given the opportunity to receive additional education and move into better-paying jobs, undocumented students would pay more taxes and have more money to invest in the U.S.,"said Roberto G. Gonzales, an acting assistant professor of social work at the University of Washington. He is author of "Young Lives on Hold: The Dreams of Undocumented Students,” which was released today by the College Board at a Washington, D.C. briefing.

Since 2001, 10 states have passed laws allowing undocumented students who graduate from in-state high schools to qualify for in-state college tuition. Washington state is among the 10 but does not permit undocumented students to apply for financial aid.

The research contends that immigration and educational policies should not be one size fits all. Children account for 1.8 million, or 15 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. They have had no say in their parents' decision to enter and remain in the U.S. illegally but are nevertheless paying the consequences, Gonzales said. They may work hard in primary and secondary school only to find the door to closed to them.

The report also contends that K-12 education mandated by the Supreme Court in 1982 is wasted if the U.S. continues making it difficult for undocumented students to attend college.

Congress should pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, says the report. The DREAM Act was first introduced in Congress in 2001 and reintroduced this session. The act would allow undocumented students who have lived in the U.S. since childhood to apply for legal permanent resident status if they graduate from high school and go on to college or military service. The DREAM Act also would offer incentives for 715,000 students between the ages of 5 and 17 to attend college after high school.

Studies indicate that while bringing tuition to colleges and universities, undocumented students have not seriously displaced U.S. citizens. In Texas, the Higher Education Coordinating Board found that in 2004, three years after the Legislature enacted in-state tuition for undocumented students, 3,792 attended Texas colleges and universities, a 10-fold increase. Nevertheless, such students amounted to only 0.36 percent of the 1 million students attending public colleges and universities in Texas.

According to the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, 542 presumed undocumented students attended public colleges and universities during the 2007-2008 academic year. By comparison, there were about 430,000 students attending public colleges and universities in the state.

Contributions of DREAM Act students, Gonzales writes in his report, "would dwarf the small additional investment in their education beyond high school.”

Provided by University of Washington (news : web)

Explore further: Supporters of climate change science face self-doubt in study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study finds college students better prepared

Apr 17, 2009

Freshmen entering California State University, Sacramento, are better prepared to tackle college-level work than they were in 2004, suggesting that a five-year-old statewide program to assess college readiness among high ...

Recommended for you

Male-biased tweeting

17 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

18 hours ago

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 22, 2009
There are plenty of "documented" kids in this country who don't have access to a college education. It's not something people are *entitled* to!
not rated yet Apr 23, 2009
Yeah, my daughter is rapidly losing hope of college after the University of Washington announced they were jacking rates up by 28%. You have to be rich, poor, or an illegal alien to go to university. How long until the US loses its status?
not rated yet Jun 08, 2009
All children deserve a right to education whether they're undocumented or not.

More news stories

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

When the economy hits the skids, government stimulus checks to the poor sometimes follow. Stimulus programs—such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009—are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Vermont moves toward labeling of GMO foods

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods as such, setting up a war between the behemoth U.S. food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly ...