Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Does tuition help for undocumented students result in long-term fiscal gain?

An piece in Inside Higher Ed argues that the long-term economic benefits reaped from providing undocumented students with in-state tuition outweigh the costs. The piece cites Cato Institute immigration Daniel Griswold, along with a 1997 National Research Council study's findings that "an immigrant with a college education is a huge net plus for the United States."

It doesn't go into the challenges faced by students who can't adjust their immigration status, which affects their earning potential, but it's worth a read. From the piece:

Griswold reports this finding of the NRC study: "Immigrants and their descendants represent a net fiscal gain for the United States. The typical immigrant and all of his or her descendants represent a positive $80,000 fiscal gain to the government. An immigrant with more than a high school education (plus descendants) represents a $198,000 fiscal gain, one with a high school diploma a $51,000 gain, and one with less than a high school education a $13,000 loss."

...Let us look at immigrant subsidies, using Texas A&M University as a representative example. In-state tuition there is $8,418, out-of-state tuition $23,808 -- a yearly subsidy to illegal immigrants of $15,390. The total for five years is $76,950, plus a 10 percent annual increase in tuition -- for a grand total subsidy of $93,957. Subtracting $93,957 from the $198,000 fiscal gain that the NRC study documented leaves a net gain of $104,043.

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