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Access to Community College for Undocumented Immigrants: A Guide for State Policymakers

May 16, 2018

At a Glance

How are states and community college systems working to improve undocumented students’ access to postsecondary education? This brief highlights what five states with high immigrant populations are doing to meet this need.

States are using various approaches to help undocumented students fulfill their college aspirations. Community college systems, which typically serve as the first point of entry into postsecondary education for many of the nation’s underserved and low-income populations, are key stakeholders in these approaches. This policy brief, created for Achieving the Dream, a national initiative to increase the success of underserved groups in community colleges, explores and highlights some of the actions being taken by states and institutions to improve the access of undocumented students to postsecondary opportunities, particularly in public community colleges. The brief focuses on the five states currently participating in the Initiative, all of which have large or rapidly growing immigrant populations. It also reports on developments in several other states and at the federal level. Achieving the Dream is funded by Lumina Foundation.

Access to Community College for Undocumented Immigrants originally appeared in 2005. A 2007 update analyzes activities in a number of states that moved toward introducing and enacting legislation that would award in-state tuition and other benefits to undocumented students who meet common criteria.

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