Explaining State Policies Providing Undocumented Immigrants with Access to Higher Education



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In 2001, Texas became the first state to extend in state tuition to undocumented individuals. States with Unified Democratic control are about seven times more likely to extend in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants than those with either split partisan control or Republican unified control. The undocumented immigrant population is positively associated with adoption of these benefits. While the analysis shows that demographic, economic, and political factors lead states to adopt these policies, the strongest predictor was unified party control. The legal status of “DREAMers” remains in question as Congress and the President debate the future of DACA. Each year, about 65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools, yet many are unable to attend postsecondary institutions due to the high costs or state laws prohibiting enrollment.