In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants and Its Impact on College Enrollment, Tuition Costs, Student Financial Aid, and Indebtedness

38 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2012

See all articles by Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

San Diego State University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Chad Sparber

Colgate University - Economics Department

Abstract

The 1996 Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act barred states from giving unlawful residents postsecondary education benefits that states do not offer to U.S. citizens. In contrast to this federal law, several states have passed legislation explicitly allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates. We use a difference-in-difference estimation methodology to assess intended and unintended consequences of this tuition policy. First, we find evidence consistent with past studies that postsecondary enrollment rates of Hispanic non-citizens have increased in treatment states relative to control states without negatively impacting the enrollment rates of native-born Americans. Second, state policies benefiting undocumented immigrants have not increased tuition and fees at comprehensive and community colleges attended by the vast majority of students, though rates have risen at flagship universities. Finally, despite some weak association with increased indebtedness among Hispanic natives, resident tuition subsidies for undocumented immigrants do not appear to have reduced financial aid or increased indebtedness for other demographic groups.

Keywords: immigration, college tuition, DREAM Act

JEL Classification: F22, J15, I23, I28

Suggested Citation

Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina and Sparber, Chad, In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants and Its Impact on College Enrollment, Tuition Costs, Student Financial Aid, and Indebtedness. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6857. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2157999

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes (Contact Author)

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States
619-594-1663 (Phone)
619-594-5062 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Chad Sparber

Colgate University - Economics Department ( email )

13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346
United States

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