Why should undocumented immigrants be allowed in to college?


During our nation’s immigration discussion there has been a lot of talk about the possible benefits of allowing undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition at public universities. This program would be in addition to the student visa programs that already exist in our nation that these undocumented immigrants may not qualify for.  Due to their undocumented status, many of these immigrants are currently subject to deportation unless they are able to qualify for some government immigration program, and our government does not seem to realize that they are throwing away a major resource.

International Students spend billions in America

According to a recent report, international students and their dependents contributed 30.5 billion dollars to the American economy during the 2014-2015 school year.  Now, this number includes all international students, including those here on student visas, but this number would still be much larger if undocumented immigrants were allowed to attend public universities under in-state tuition.  20 states currently provide in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, and if that number were to increase to 50 this nation would see a massive surge in its yearly income.

Students attending college provide numerous economic benefits to the surrounding area, and the more types of students you admit, the more diversified the spending may be.  College students spend a lot of money not only on tuition, but also on supplies and food.  According to research on student income and spending, the average student has a monthly income of 1,200 dollars through work or help from their parents.  This adds up to only a yearly income of 14,400, but you have to put this in context of the number of students in the nation.  The student population of the United States holds an annual spending power of 417 billion dollars.  The study found that of this annual income, 40% would be spent on what they called “discretionary” expenses. Basically, students spend almost half of their money on things such as food, clothes, makeup and other things.

Most undocumented students who want to go to college came to the U.S. as kids

If you increase the number of eligible students in the United States, and give them a cheaper tuition, you are likely to see even more college student spending in the United States, which would be a very large economic push that we have been needing for a few years.  Another stance to take on this matter is that many times it was not the decision of these children to come to the United States, and it is not fair to deny them an education because of a choice they never go to make.

A large number of the undocumented immigrants of college age came to this country when they were very young, and likely as a result of their parents bringing them to this country.  Regardless of whether they are legal citizens or not, they are here, and it is our responsibility to take care of them.  If we allow these students to attend college and become educated, they are likely to stay in the United States and use this new education to benefit the nation that took them in.

Aside from the economic benefits of allowing undocumented immigrants to attend public universities under in-state tuition, there is also a massive social benefit. During the college years, students are likely to fully develop who they are as human beings, and they are likely to determine the type of people that they want to be.  Allowing undocumented immigrants to attend universities would ensure that while students are determining all of this, they are doing so in a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

Foreign students educated in the U.S. are likely to find jobs in the U.S.

In addition to all of this, foreign students who are educated in the United States are very likely to stay in the United States to find jobs in their fields.  The National Science Board estimates that in 2010 56.3% of engineers in the United States were immigrants.  They also found that 51.5% of computer scientists, 47.1% of biologists, and 41.9% of physicists were immigrants.  As a result of these contributions, the United States has remained one of the world’s elite innovators.  This again has to do with the diversification of the work force.  Having people from all walks of life and all social backgrounds working on developing technology ensures that there are many different viewpoints and thought processes going on.  The old adage “two heads are better than one” works a lot better when the two head think in different ways.

All of these factors point to a simple fact; immigrants in all forms benefit our economy and society.  We should be doing whatever we can to ensure that those who come to this country looking for a better life find that better life, and then stay in the United States to reap the benefits of that new life.  Denying undocumented immigrants who live in a state the right to attend the universities in that state or forcing them to pay out of state tuition will discourage those immigrants from attempting to better our communities, and also limit the number of immigrants we see receiving proper educations. Many of these students can barely afford to pay the in-state tuition, so it makes sense that very few of them would be able to pay the out of state tuition.  This is why it only makes sense that undocumented immigrants who live in a state should be allowed to receive in-state tuition at that states public universities.

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