National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

Toolkit | Access to Postsecondary Education


Social & Economic Impact of Improving Access to Higher Education for Immigrant Students

General Findings from a 2008 Report

Investing in Post-Secondary Education Yields Higher Earnings and Increased State Revenues

Tuition Equity Policies Reduce Drop-Out Rates and Increase Access to College

A State’s Economic Competitiveness Depends on Maintaining a Highly Educated Populace

Resources on Social & Economic Contributions of Immigrants



Immigrant families contribute substantially to the cultural, civic, and economic life of local communities. Inclusive policies that welcome rather than marginalize newcomers are more effective in ensuring that all residents can benefit from their unique skills and contributions.

The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians in all 50 States (Immigration Policy Center, July 28, 2010).

  • For each state, the fact sheets that comprise this resource provide details on the portion of immigrants and naturalized citizens in the population and workforce, the state and local tax contributions of immigrants, and the economic impact if undocumented immigrants were removed from the state.
  • The fact sheets also highlight the education-related economic contributions of foreign students, the percentage of children of immigrants who are English-proficient, the number of immigrants with a college degree, and the percentage of naturalized citizens and U.S.-born children of immigrants who are registered voters.
  • The fact sheets include percentages of U.S.-born children who are Asian or Latino, the number of Asian and Latino–owned businesses, and the purchasing power of Asians and Latinos.

Assessing the Economic Impact of Immigration at the State and Local Level (Immigration Policy Center; published Aug., 18, 2009, updated April 13, 2010).

  • A comprehensive list of reports and studies sorted by state which demonstrate that immigrant workers contribute to the federal, state, and local economies through paying income taxes, consumer spending, and job creation. (Welcoming America).

  • Welcoming America is a national organization that utilizes local leadership development, strategic communications, and public engagement to reduce anxiety and promote healthy dialogue in communities across the country working to integrate newly arrived immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers into their communities. The organization’s model has won its affiliates awards and has even garnered the attention of the Obama administration.
  • On its website the organization offers various tools for individuals, organizations, and coalitions interested in starting a campaign in their community.

All Immigration Is Local: Receiving Communities and Their Role in Successful Immigrant Integration (Michael Jones-Correa, Center for American Progress, Sept. 20, 2011).

  • This report builds on the Receiving Communities Initiative, a gathering of leading academics, practitioners, advocates, and local, state, and national officials in Washington, D.C., in December 2010, which examined the role of receiving communities in immigrant integration and whose goal was to reinvigorate immigrant integration in America.
  • The report identifies four key strategies for receiving communities: (1) encouraging leadership to address the changes that take place locally and to manage them effectively; (2) fostering contact between immigrants and the native-born; (3) building partnerships between state and local governments and new residents; and (4) reframing the issues to counter misconceptions about immigrants.