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Toolkit | Access to Postsecondary Education


Estimates of Eligible Students

Undocumented Youth Comprise a Small Segment of the Student Population

Selected State Estimates




Annual Report on AB 540 Tuition Exemptions: 2008–2009 Academic Year (University of California Office of the President, Student Financial Support, Sept. 21, 2010).

  • Students who meet certain eligibility requirements, regardless of status, are exempt from paying nonresident tuition at California public colleges and universities. The report provides detailed information regarding the utilization of AB 540 (the state’s tuition equity law) in the University of California system during the 2008–09 academic year. It does not capture the students enrolled in the California State University or community college systems.
  • In every year since the program’s inception, documented students accounted for 70 percent or more of AB 540 students, whereas potentially undocumented students comprised 21 percent or less of AB 540 students. (The status of some students could not be determined.)
  • The portion of documented students is particularly high among graduate students, who comprise over 96 percent of the AB 540 students every academic year.

All AB540 recipients - chart



Letter from Steven J. Anderson, Director, Kansas Division of the Budget, to the Hon. Kasha Kelley, Chairperson, House Committee on Education, Kansas State Legislature, Subject: Fiscal Note for HB 2192 by House Committee on Federal and State Affairs, Feb. 11, 2013.

  • The fiscal note on a measure that would have repealed Kansas’s tuition equity policy reported that in the fall of 2012, 117 undocumented students were enrolled at the University of Kansas, 498 in community colleges, and 15 in technical colleges in Kansas.


Hawaii Bill Aims to Be State Version of Dream Act (, March 21, 2012).

  • In 2012, the Hawaii legislature considered measures that would allow undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition rates.
  • As reported in this article, university officials estimate that up to 1,300 students could benefit from the tuition rates offered under the bill.


Massachusetts Would Gain Millions of Dollars from Undocumented Immigrants (Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Jan. 5, 2006).

  • The foundation projected that in 2006, 70–80 undocumented immigrant students would have enrolled in Massachusetts’ public higher education institutions if provided eligibility for in-state tuition rates. By 2009, the number of students would have reached 530–660. The additional students would comprise only 0.4 percent of the 160,000 public college students in Massachusetts.

New Jersey

In-State Tuition for Immigrant Students (pp. 22–35 of appendix to Report to [New Jersey] Governor Jon S. Corzine Submitted by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy).

  • Estimates that about 2,000 students in New Jersey would be eligible for in-state tuition under a proposed tuition equity bill. The New Jersey Immigration Policy Network estimates that this number might be closer to 1,200.

Rhode Island

Diaz Lauds Decision to Grant In-State Tuition to Immigrants (Rhode Island Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, Sept. 28, 2011).

  • Under a Board of Governors for Higher Education policy, a student may qualify for in-state tuition regardless of his or her status if the student graduates from a high school or earns a GED in Rhode Island, attends school in the state for at least three years, and files an application to adjust to a lawful status as soon as the student is eligible to do so.
  • Advocates estimate that the policy will affect about 140 students a year.

Bill Aims to Grant In-State Tuition to Undocumented Students (Alexandra Ulmer, The Brown Daily Herald, Feb. 23, 2011).

  • Citing an estimate from the children’s advocacy group Rhode Island Kids Count, the article states that 130 undocumented students stand to benefit annually from a law that would allow certain students to pay in-state tuition regardless of their status.


In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Resident Texans: What You Need to Know (Center for Public Policy Priorities, 2015).

  • 1,303,684 students (1.9 percent of total students) pay in-state tuition rates under Texas’s tuition equity law.
  • 4,109 noncitizen resident students (0.32 percent of total students) received state-authorized loans, state-supported grants, and other institutional/nonstate financial aid in 201.
  • 2,318 noncitizen resident students received state-supported grants (1.8 percent of all students who received grants) in 2013.

Eligibility for In-State Tuition and State Financial Aid Programs (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Oct. 2011).

  • Under Texas law, certain students qualify for in-state tuition regardless of their status. In fiscal year 2010, 16,476 students, or about 1 percent of total enrollment, qualified for in-state tuition at Texas public universities, at community, technical, and state colleges, and at public health–related institutions under the law.


In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students in Utah (Jennifer Robinson, Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Utah, Feb. 13, 2007).

  • Under Utah law, students who meet certain criteria, regardless of their immigration status, are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at Utah’s public colleges and universities. The Utah System for Higher Education reported that 182 students were granted in-state tuition under the law in 2005–06.


About 100 Illegal Immigrants Paid In-State Tuition in 2010-11 (Deborah Ziff, Wisconsin State Journal, June 21, 2011).

  • The State Journal obtained data from the 13 four-year campuses in the University of Wisconsin system and found that about 100 undocumented immigrant students filed paperwork for resident tuition in 2010–11.
  • The Wisconsin legislature enacted a tuition equity law in 2009, but the law was repealed as part of the governor’s omnibus budget bill in 2011.