As the costs of higher education continue to reach new heights, access to in-state tuition for public universities and colleges is often the determining factor in whether students will be able to continue their education beyond high school. Despite having grown up and been residents of states often longer than the typical residency requirements, undocumented immigrant youth, also known as DREAMers–named after the Senate’s DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act–have historically been excluded from this critical state benefit. But this is changing.The trend toward restricting admission to public colleges or denying in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants is shifting. Many states have begun to realize that supporting undocumented youth in obtaining an education is not only a humane policy, it’s also an investment in the state’s human capital and economy.States are approaching this in diverse ways, with the most progressive states passing laws that guarantee tuition equity and allow for state-funded financial aid and private scholarships. Others only offer tuition equity to students who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and are therefore in the U.S. legally. On the other end of the spectrum, a minority of states are choosing to explicitly prevent this population from accessing in-state tuition and, in the most extreme cases, from enrolling in public colleges at all (Georgia and Montana).via Immigrant Access to Higher Education.
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