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The Lost Economic Impact of DACA Eligible Students in South Carolina

In South Carolina, students with DACA may enroll in higher education, but are required to pay out-of-state tuition, limiting their ability to afford higher education (Roth, 2017). This means a child could have lived in South Carolina since the age of 6 months, graduated high school in the state, worked in the state, but must go out of the state to attend college because of affordability. That may mean loss of potential workforce talent going to another state.

South Carolina law prohibits undocumented immigrants from working without a valid work authorization (S.C. Code Ann. 59-101-430). While DREAMers with DACA protection can legally work, they are barred from obtaining professional licensure in the state (S.C Code of Laws Section 8-29-10). The following report will analyze the economic impacts these policies have on both individuals and state and local economies.

South Carolina Policy Barriers

  • Bans undocumented immigrant students from admission to all public higher education institutions.
  • Mandates that students protected under DACA must pay higher Out-of State Tuition rates.
  • Prohibits undocumented immigrants from working without valid work authorization.
  • Dreamers with DACA protection can legally work, however they are barred from professional licensure in the state.

Economic Impact Summary

  • 8,785 South Carolina residents who are DACA eligible
  • 5,500 are currently active DACA recipients
  • 89% of DACA eligible residents are in the workforce
  • $31 Million in local, state and federal taxes annually