Policies Concerning Undocumented Students

By Mary Ann Zehr — September 13, 2007 1 min read
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The Education Commission of the States has just released an up-to-date list of which states provide in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants enrolled in their state colleges and universities. As of June, the document says, 10 states had passed legislation that enables students living illegally in the country to pay the in-state rates. They are: California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

I’ve met some high school guidance counselors or teachers who have told me they sometimes end up trying to help undocumented students research ways to finance a college education. Whether a state offers in-state tuition can make a difference in whether such students, in fact, are able to go to college. Of course, even if they attend college, they are still subject to being deported if their undocumented status is discovered by immigration officials. And landing some kinds of jobs after college, such as being a teacher in public schools, is practically impossible.

At the K-12 level, undocumented children are entitled to a free education. As enforcement of immigration laws increases, some school district officials are clarifying through new policies how school personnel should address the immigration status of students. I wrote about that issue this week in Education Week. You can weigh in on a discussion about school policies concerning undocumented students in the Talkback section of

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