Expanding College Access to all Students Will Increase Arizona’s Economic Stability

Author: Helios Education Foundation

May 12, 2015

Recently, a Maricopa County Superior judge ruled that undocumented students who have work visas under the federal DeferredAction for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can pay “in-state  ” tuition at the Maricopa County Community College District.  The ruling effectively affirms the community college district’s prior stance on the issue and expands college access to these students, putting them on a path toward postsecondary completion.  The court decision then led to the Arizona Board of Regents to now allow undocumented students known as “dreamers” to pay in-state tuition rates at Arizona’s three state universities.

“We are pleased by these recent decisions,” said Braulio Colón, Vice President and Program Director, Postsecondary Completion.  “Helios is committed to ensuring all students have the opportunity to access and complete a postsecondary degree and allowing these students to pay in-state tuition rates will go a long way to illuminate a pathway of success.”

This decision will save the students thousands of dollars each year.  According to the Arizona Republic, in-state tuition at ASU this year is $10,157 compared to $24,503 for non-residents. 

Expanding access to postsecondary education is in our state’s best interest and in the interest of these students.  According to data from ASU, a two percentage point increase in the share of university graduates in the workplace would equal an estimated $1.2 billion gain in income and an additional $87 million in state tax payments.  The economic return of increasing the postsecondary degree completion rate is indisputable.

In addition, we know that postsecondary education is a gateway to intellectual growth and diverse careers for individuals.  Individuals who attain a higher level of education tend to have higher incomes, pay more taxes, are less likely to be unemployed and require fewer state supported services. 

Increasing “dreamer” student’s access to postsecondary education not only makes sense for these individual students but it will help to improve Arizona’s future economic vitality.

Category: Postsecondary Success

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