Most Colleges Knowingly Admit Illegal Immigrants

Most Colleges Knowingly Admit Illegal Immigrants as Students, Survey Finds

By Katherine Mangan
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 17, 2009

More than half of the colleges that responded to a recent survey said they knowingly admit illegal immigrants to degree or diploma programs under certain circumstances, according to findings released on Monday by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

The report of findings was based on responses from 613 of the associations 2,000 U.S.-based member institutions. Of those that responded either fully or partially to the survey, 54 percent said they did, and 46 percent said they did not, knowingly admit undocumented students.

The percentages varied widely according to the type of college, with 70 percent of public two-year colleges and just 41 percent of private, nonprofit four-year colleges answering in the affirmative. Twenty percent of the respondents said they verify the immigration status of all applicants, while 31 percent said they do so only for those seeking financial aid. Nineteen percent said they verify applicants who seek to pay in-state tuition.

Among the special circumstances colleges consider when deciding whether to accept undocumented students is whether they graduated from an in-state high school and whether they had certified their intention to seek legal status.

The issue of illegal-immigrant students has prompted heated debate in many states, including North Carolina, where the states Board of Community Colleges voted in August to prevent them from enrolling in the states community colleges while it studies the matter.