California DREAM: The Impact of Financial Aid for Undocumented Community College Students
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Ineligibility for state financial aid has traditionally limited undocumented students’ access to higher education. Since 2013, the California Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (CA-DREAM) has made state-supported aid available to undocumented college students with demonstrated financial need. We use a difference-in-difference strategy and administrative data to examine the impact of the policy on undocumented community college students’ enrollment behaviors and postsecondary outcomes. The availability of CA-DREAM aid for these students, in the form of enrollment fee waivers, drew in undocumented Hispanic male students, students with lower average incoming high school GPAs, and those who increased their 11th to 12th grade achievement. Receiving DREAM aid significantly increased the average number of units attempted and completed and, in some cases, improved persistence and attainment outcomes. Undocumented students receiving aid achieved at similar levels as U.S. citizen peers receiving aid and better than their undocumented peers not receiving aid.
Community colleges; Educational policy; Financial aid; Higher education; Immigration/immigrants; Quasi-experimental analysis; Undocumented students
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
California DREAM: The Impact of Financial Aid for Undocumented Community College Students.