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Immigration Status and Postsecondary Opportunity: Barriers to Affordability, Access, and Success for Undocumented Students, and Policy Solutions

This article, published in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, discusses how immigrant and undocumented students face significant barriers in accessing and obtaining a postsecondary degree. The anti‐immigration agenda of the Trump administration and its impact on higher education made this issue of paramount concern.

In this article, issues at the intersection of immigration and postsecondary education are reviewed. First, the article defines the population of interest, with special attention to the differentiated rights of different groups. It argues for the policy significance of immigration for postsecondary education. Second, it provides an overview of the main identified barriers facing undocumented students in accessing postsecondary education. The article then examine policies that have been adopted by states and by institutions of higher education to address some of those barriers. It concludes with policy recommendations to improve affordability, access, and success for undocumented students and argues for the inclusion of immigration status as a variable in research on equity in postsecondary education.

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