College Access for the Undocumented?--No Shortage of Opinions

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 08, 2008 1 min read
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Eduwonk weighs in on the issue of access to higher education for undocumented students in the United States, suggesting that the nation should provide a fast track to citizenship for promising students who are immigrants in the same way that the military does for immigrants. A path to citizenship would certainly take away some of the anxiety experienced by undocumented students described in this Los Angeles Times article, which was published today. (Hat tip to ImmigrationProf Blog.)

Meanwhile, at the annual convention of the National Education Association, which my colleague Vaishali Honawar blogged about, delegates voted for the organization to support access to higher education for undocumented students and the opportunity for such students to pay in-state tuition rates. (See Legislative Amendment 5 here, as well as New Business Item 8 here.) But at the same time the delegates voted against a business item that called for the NEA to publicize its support for undocumented students to receive financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study offers, and loans to attend colleges and universities. has a lively online discussion forum going on regarding whether South Carolina has done the right thing in barring undocumented students from state colleges and universities. The comments range across the spectrum.

One side of the debate: “No one in this country should be entitled to anything free in this country without documentation.”

The other side of the debate: “I would rather have an immigrant working beside me or in a skilled job with a good education rather than no education at all.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.