Unstipulated State Policy Environments: Undocumented Students

Reconciling Federal, State, and Institutional Policies Determining Educational Access for Undocumented Students: Implications for Professional Practice

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States with unstipulated policy environments have no current legislation that statutorily prohibits undocumented students from gaining admission to public or private institutions, nor the provision of in-state residency tuition to undocumented students.

While this policy environment does not explicitly allow for the same opportunities that exist in inclusive states, the ambiguity of the environment offers some room for growth as colleges and universities seek to provide inclusive institutional policies for undocumented students.

Policy Opportunities
  • There is much opportunity for institutions to create inclusive admissions policies. Currently 71% of public institutions and 63% of public institutions don't have an admissions policy in place or "don't know" their admissions policy. In unstipulated policy environments, institutions (public or private) have the legal ability to explicitly create an inclusive admissions policy. However, this may not be true for institutions belonging to a state system because the legal authority may exist at the system level.
  • Only 26% of institutions in unstipulated environments offer in-state residency tuition. However, unlike their counterparts in restrictive policy environments, these institutions face fewer obvious legal restraints when creating these opportunities. Furthermore, 20% of these institutions "do not know" their in-state residency tuition policy; this leaves even more room for possible creation of inclusive institutional policies.
  • While the percentage of institutional financial aid offered at public institutions located is only 15%, private institutions (especially faith-based institutions) may be in position to create institutional financial aid funds on the basis of their institutional mission and values. Numerous faith-based schools have created institutional aid policies based on arguments for social justice, and within this rationale have long served minority populations. This same argument is available to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions.