Just half of undocumented immigrants ages 18—24 have attended college, versus 73 percent of legal immigrants and 70 percent of U.S.-born students. In 47 states, undocumented people can’t receive financial aid. In 33 states, they are ineligible for in-state tuition.
The DREAM Act would qualify 65,000 more undocumented graduates per year for higher education benefits. But state implementation would still be crucial, says TC professor Kevin Dougherty.
Dougherty, the University of Hartford’s H. Kenny Nienhusser (Ed.D. ’11) and TC doctoral student Blanca Vega concede in The Review of Higher Education that state DREAM Acts won’t spare family members deportation or safeguard culturally relevant curricula. Still, Nienhusser says, education helps undocumented students “get better jobs and pay higher taxes. More important, the educational opportunities help them succeed.”