University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Expanding State Level Support for Undocumented Immigrants: College Affordability Policies and State Identification

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March 2019

Yvonne Navarrete


The 130,000 undocumented immigrants in Michigan are disproportionately affected by poverty, limiting their access to higher education due to affordability concerns, in addition to the various institutional obstacles that create hardships for this community. Creating opportunities for undocumented immigrants to increase their economic and social contributions can be beneficial to the state of Michigan. Establishing in-state tuition and in-state financial aid policies will aim to increase college affordability for undocumented students at the state level, leading to higher taxable income and other positive spillover effects. Establishing Tuition Equity (TE) policies that allow undocumented students to be eligible for in-state tuition rates will reduce the ticket-price of attending college and increase college affordability and access for undocumented students. Additional pro-immigrant provisions such as driver’s licenses and state identification, may lead to benefits that can be further exacerbated. A summary of the state of current policies, an analysis of programs already implemented across the state and nation, and an overview of the political feasibility, costs, and benefits of such policies will be included in order to best provide a policy recommendation that addresses the aforementioned issues.

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