‘How Will I Pay for It?’ Undocumented Students and the Barriers to College Affordability
National UnDACAmented Research Project
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In light of recent discussions related to the Student Access to College and Career-Education for Statewide Success (ACCESS) Bill, this report draws attention to the burdens incurred by undocumented students in accessing, persisting in, and completing postsecondary education at four-year institutions in Illinois. In 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) broadened opportunities for eligible youth by providing renewable work authorization. However, DACA did not address exclusions from federal and state financial aid. Consequently, in spite of DACA benefits, higher education remains out of reach for many low-income undocumented students. Drawing on in-depth interviews in Illinois from the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP), the authors find that Illinois’ undocumented students face tremendous difficulties accessing, persisting in, and completing postsecondary education due to affordability.