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© Copyright 2010 Inside Higher Ed March 17, 2009 Just over half (53.6 percent) of colleges knowingly admit undocumented immigrant students to degree or diploma programs under certain circumstances, while 46.4 percent do not. Public two-year colleges are the most likely to knowingly admit students residing in the United States illegally, with 69.9 percent indicating that they do so, whereas just 40.7 percent of private nonprofit colleges say the same. Those are among the many findings of a new survey from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, to which 613 of the association's roughly 2,000 member institutions responded. (Of the 613, 260 filled out the survey completely, while most, 353, completed it partially. For instance, only 384, or 62.6 percent of all respondents, answered the inquiry on knowingly admitting undocumented students.) The data fill a void where anecdotes -- and deep passions -- have lived. While the issue has flared periodically (most notably, of late, at the North Carolina community colleges), little is known on a national level about institutional policies on admitting and enrolling illegal immigrants. ³There are a number of pure or philosophical positions out there with regard to undocumented students, but very little by way of actual information from a campus administrative perspective,´ said Barmak Nassirian, AACRAO¶s associate executive director. ³In general, there is sort of a false image in people¶s heads when the topic is discussed -- of a group of people with µundocumented¶ tattooed on their foreheads walking around the campus. And that¶s not so.´ Of the findings, he said, ³The vast majority of institutions´ -- 96.9 percent -- "do actually inquire about citizenship/legal residency status in the form of a question.´ ³But then, once you solicit the answer, how you act on the answers that you receive very clearly separates institutions from each other. ... In practice, the numbers are all over the map when it comes to who they verify, how they verify, etc.´ On verification, just 19.6 percent said they verify the immigration status of all applicants, 30.6 percent verify applicants for financial aid, and 18.7 percent verify only those applicants seeking in-state tuition. Another 23.3 percent said they don't verify applicants' status, and 7.7 percent said "other." Nassirian points out that very few institutions -- just 5.1 percent -- rely on national e-verification systems, like SAVE or E-Verify. "The rest do it in-house on the basis of document reviews," Nassirian said.
When asked, "What happens if you find out or have reason to believe students who claimed otherwise are undocumented?" the answers vary: Of 409 institutions that responded to this question, 23 percent said students are not allowed to enroll, 11.2 percent said that, if already enrolled, they¶re asked to withdraw, 12 percent said they¶re allowed to enroll without conditions, 7.8 percent said they are permitted to enroll under certain conditions, 23 percent said they¶re charged higher tuition and 20.5 percent said other. Of those colleges that knowingly admit undocumented students under certain circumstances, what are some of those circumstances? A total of 27.5 percent require graduation from an instate high school or GED, 18.8 percent require attendance at an in-state high school, 15.3 percent require an affidavit, statement or certification of the student's intention to resolve his or her immigration status, and 9.7 percent require proof of length of residence. Nearly 29 percent said other. A 1982 U.S. Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe, affirms the right of illegal immigrants to K-12 education, but does not extend to higher education. Undocumented students are ineligible for federal financial aid, and how states handle their admission and enrollment in public colleges varies -- with some now barring admission of undocumented students and others pursuing the opposite tack by making lower resident tuition rates available for illegal immigrants residing in their states. As for private colleges, their policies also vary, and typically aren¶t advertised. One exception is Vassar College, which, after entertaining a proposal last fall, has made explicit its policy on undocumented student admissions. On its admissions Web site, the college states, ³Vassar College will give admission applications submitted by undocumented students the same consideration given to any other applications it might receive. Undocumented students who are admitted to Vassar will be offered financial assistance based on demonstrated need following the same procedures Vassar uses to grant aid to accepted international students.´ ³We wanted to clarify for students and for families and for counselors and for others what our policies were so that they wouldn¶t have to guess,´ explained David Borus, the dean of admission and financial aid. ³As a matter of fact, at least as far as we can see from this year¶s applicant pool, it has not resulted in a deluge of applications from undocumented students, but rather more of a trickle. There have been a few students who have contacted us and been given this policy and gone ahead and applied but not a great many. And I think that¶s likely to be the case in the future.´ As for what other colleges are doing, ³It¶s not the kind of thing that colleges generally are discussing in forums, or online,´ Borus said. ³It¶s an internal, sort of functional policy that we all have dozens of for various constituencies and various procedures. So I don¶t think it¶s startling that it¶s not something that¶s being discussed a great deal." ² Elizabeth Redden Go to comments (13) »
Comments on Data on the Undocumented
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Smart Policy Posted by Eduardo Marti , President at Queensborough Community College on March 17, 2009 at 9:00am EDT It is time to speak out for the thousands of undocumented immigrants who are intimidated and abused. As the President of Queensborough Community College, one of the units of the City University of New York, and as a New Yorker, I am proud that our State is one of 10 that provides in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants who have resided in the state for three years, graduated from a state high school, received notification of acceptance to a public college or university and signed an affidavit stating they will file for legal immigration status. This is a natural extension of the Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982) that states that undocumented children have the same right to a free public education as U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, undocumented immigrants are still not able to access any kind of federal financial aid. This economic barrier prevents many from entering colleges and universities. So, even with permissive legislation, we are making it hard for children of undocumented immigrants to prepare themselves to become productive members of our communities. The Dream Act, previously supported by Barack Obama and many other Senators, should be reintroduced in the 110th Congress. Under the original proposal, the legislation provides that undocumented students with good moral character who came to the U.S. at age 15 or younger, at least 5 years before the date of the bill¶s enactment, would qualify for conditional permanent resident status upon acceptance to college, graduation from a U.S. high school, or being awarded a GED in the U.S. Students with conditional permanent resident status would be able to work, drive, go to school, and otherwise participate normally in day-to-day activities on the same terms as other Americans, except that they generally would not be able to travel abroad for lengthy periods and they would not be eligible for Pell Grants or certain other federal financial aid grants. They would, however, be eligible for federal work study and student loans, and states would not be restricted from providing their own financial aid to these students. Time spent by young people in conditional permanent resident status would count towards the residency requirements for naturalization. The conditional permanent residency would be converted to a regular lawful residency status if immigrant has maintained good moral character, avoided lengthy trips abroad, and met at least one of the following criteria: 1. Graduated from a 2-year college or certain vocational colleges or studied for at least 2 years towards a B.A. or higher degree, or 2. Served in the U.S. armed forces for at least 2 years.
This is an immigration reform proposal that makes sense. Let¶s hope that it becomes law.
 DREAM Act Summary (Senate Judiciary Committee) | National Immigration Law Center www.nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/dream_act_06_summary_2006-04.pdf|
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In Support of the Dream Act Posted by Dream Act Supporter , Admissions on March 17, 2009 at 12:30pm EDT Unfortunately, the issue is not so black and white as many law-abiding, tax paying citizens would like it to be. The Dream Act is legislation that would allow children that were brought to the U.S. by their parents to pursue the American dream and become lawful residents. While it may not seem 'fair' to some who fear new populations taking over and wasting tax payer money by receiving in-state tuition, among other things, it is in response to the large (and growing) population of underage undocumented children who grew up in this country and don't know any other way other than the American way. Some do not even know they are undocumented while others are aware and live in a constant state of fear that they will somehow get caught and deported back to a country with which they are unfamiliar and may not speak the language (if their parents wanted them to assimilate to the point of not speaking their native language at home). If the choice were between sending this population of students to college (or join the army) on the path of becoming lawful residents or rounding them up and sending them back to where ever they came from (as subjective as that notion is) then I would rather the former option be in place. And if the latter option were to ever become a reality, I will leave it to others to press the red button as I object. In my own experience...my institution currently allows undocumented students to enroll, with conditions of proving they meet state residency requirements in order to receive instate tuition. With a college education these students are looking to become productive members of society and of the undocumented students I have met on campus, I can safely say that they already are.
© Copyright 2010 Inside Higher Ed
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