How States Can Reduce the Dropout Rate for Undocumented Immigrant Youth: The Effects of In-State Resident Tuition Policies

Stephanie Potochnick, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

To date 11 states have adopted an in-state resident tuition policy that provides in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants and several other states are considering similar legislation. Research has yet to thoroughly examine how these policies affect the academic achievement of undocumented youth in K-12. Using the Current Population Survey (CPS), this paper employs a triple difference model to examine whether in-state resident tuition policies targeting undocumented immigrants reduce the likelihood of dropping out of high school for Latino foreign-born non-citizens, a proxy for undocumented youth. The paper develops an integrated framework that combines economic theory of human capital with demographic theories of immigrant optimism and segmented assimilation to provide insight into how in-state resident tuition policies influence student motivation and achievement at the high school level. Additionally, the paper considers whether the impact of these policies differ by state migration histories and student gender.

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Presented in Session 96: Policy and Child Outcomes