Monday, July 25, 2005

Going to college in Texas

According to Inside Higher Ed, new data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shows that the number of undocumented immigrants attending college in Texas (one of the small number of states that allows immigrant students to pay in-state tuition regardless of legal status) has gone up significantly since 2001. Undocumented immigrants are now 10 times more likely to attend college in Texas than they were before the state began to offer in-state tuition rates to immigrant students.

These statistics, which are important in the growing nation-wide debate over college for undocumented immigrants, will undoubtably be used by both pro and anti-immigrant groups. It is probably impossible to allay the concerns of people who argue that giving undocumented immigrants access to college rewards illegal behavior by their parents, but the article makes it pretty clear that fears about undocumented immigrants taking up spots at competitive universities are unfounded - most of the students benefiting from Texas' law are attending community colleges, and undocumented students still make up a very small percentage of all students in the state.

More data is needed to see exactly how the state's investment in immigrant youth is paying off, but at least we know now that a lot of undocumented immigrants can take advantage of this policy, which likely means they will be able get better jobs, earn more money and contribute to their communities (and the state's tax base).

No comments: