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Congress is considering a proposed budget reconciliation package that would include tuition-free community college for eligible students without regard to the students’ immigration status. States that receive federal grants under this program would not be able to deny tuition-free community college to students based on “citizenship, alienage, or immigration status.” The purpose of this brief is to provide an overview of undocumented students’ current access to in-state tuition and state financial aid, including Promise programs, and the economic and state-level benefits of increasing college access and equity for all students through tuition-free community college. 

Congress’ proposal on tuition-free community college will complement current state policies by further removing financial barriers to degree completion. The proposal smartly builds on state-led momentum that expands access to higher education to all eligible state residents, including undocumented students.

  • Pro-Workforce. Ensuring all state residents are eligible regardless of immigration status will help expand access to higher education and allow the American workforce to fill critical workforce shortages in key industries. 
  • Builds on State Trends. Allowing all state residents to more easily access higher education is a policy already followed, with some variation, by almost half of all U.S. states, encompassing most undocumented students in higher education in the U.S.

Read the full policy brief here.

(Published on October 19, 2021)

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