The Cost of College Education as a DACA Student

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as DACA, is a policy that protects eligible immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation. Because they are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents, DACA students often face many barriers when it comes to accessing a college education. But despite the challenges, America’s new economy has found that DACA students who graduate see their earnings increase by more than 70% and go on to work in a range of industries, including science, healthcare, technology, design and education – all of which are essential to the American economy.

DACA Student Key Statistics

  • There are approximately 181,000 DACA students or DACA-eligible students in the United States, representing less than 1% of all college students in the United States.
  • More than 83% of DACA students are enrolled in public institutions, while approximately 17% are enrolled in private institutions.
  • California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois have the largest populations of DACA students.
  • About 70% of DACA students identify as Hispanic, while just over 16% identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander and only 5.3% identify as Black.
  • Most DACA students are enrolled in undergraduate programs, with only about 13% of them enrolled in graduate studies.
  • Female DACA recipients are more likely to go to college than their male counterparts.
  • In 2015, 45% of DACA recipients were both enrolled in school and employed.
  • DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, including federal student loans, scholarships, and work-study programs.
  • California, Oregon, Nevada, Texas, and Oklahoma are among 19 states where DACA-eligible students receive both public university tuition and state financial aid.
  • Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina are the three states that offer the least support for DACA students, even prohibiting them from enrolling in certain public institutions.
  • On average, DACA undergraduates who live in states where they don’t have access to resident tuition can expect to pay about $44,000 a year at four-year public institutions between tuition fees college tuition, fees, room, board, and other expenses.

How much does college cost for DACA students?

Paying for college as a DACA student is not an easy task for several reasons. First, DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, including federal student grants or loans. This alone puts DACA students in a difficult position when it comes to funding their degrees.

Additionally, US students generally have access to cheaper tuition if they attend a public university in their state of residence, but DACA students do not always have access.

Some states, including Wisconsin, Missouri, and North Carolina, not only prohibit DACA recipients from obtaining resident tuition at public institutions, but also do not offer state assistance. to help cover tuition fees. Other states, like Georgia, go so far as to ban them altogether from enrolling in certain public universities, making it harder for them to afford an education.

For this reason, DACA students living in a restrictive state can expect to pay an average of $44,150 per year in public four-year schools between tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses. of college – the average paid by non-resident students, according to Collège Planche. Students attending a private college will pay even more, an average of $55,800.

Tuition and Financial Fairness for DACA Students in Different States

States with the most comprehensive benefits for DACA students

States with the most restrictions for DACA students

New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island
washington d.c.

New Hampshire
North Carolina
Caroline from the south

Comprehensive benefits include access to public college and university enrollment, resident tuition, state aid, and scholarships. Restrictions include barring DACA students from resident tuition, enrollment at public institutions, and state aid at public universities.
Source: Higher Education Immigration Portal

DACA Student Graduation Rate

A Migration Policy Institute study found that DACA recipients are less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than American adults; an estimated 17% of American adults earned a bachelor’s degree in 2017, compared to just 4% of DACA recipients. The study also found that female DACA recipients are more likely to complete college than their male counterparts.

It should be noted that at the time of publication of the study, 18% of DACA recipients were enrolled in college, so the number of DACA recipients with a college degree could increase significantly in the coming years. coming.

Popular Careers Among DACA Graduates

College-educated DACA recipients fill key roles within the U.S. economy in a variety of fields, including health care, science, education, design, and technology. Additionally, DACA recipients who attend college enjoy a 73% salary increase on average, according to an analysis by the New American Economy.

Top 10 Professions for DACA Graduates

Occupation Number of DACA recipients
in the field from 2017
Accountants and auditors 4,129
Registered Nurses 3,404
Post-secondary teachers 3,022
Managers, nec (including postmasters) 2,981
Elementary and middle school teachers 2,872
Software developers 2,817
Computer scientists and systems analyst 2,174
Customer Service Representatives 2,170
Waiters and waitresses 2,125
Creators 2015

Source: New American Economy

How can DACA students reduce the cost of college education?

DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid; however, there are a few options they can explore to reduce tuition fees, including:

  • Scholarships: Just like grants, scholarships are a form of gift aid (i.e. free money) that can be used to cover not only tuition fees but also other university expenses, including materials, books, accommodation and meals. Several organizations offer scholarships exclusively to DACA students, including TheDream.US and Golden Door Scholars. You can also ask your school or use a scholarship search engine to find scholarships that may be open to you.
  • State financial assistance: Some states, such as California, Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, have established grants, institutional scholarships, and other forms of assistance for DACA-eligible students who complete a special form. To find out if your state offers these opportunities, as well as how to apply, visit its website or contact the school of your choice to learn more.
  • State public institutions (if applicable): If you live in a state where DACA students can enroll in public colleges or universities, you should consider them your first choice because you could save thousands of dollars in tuition and fees alone.
  • Private student loans: Getting a private student loan as a DACA student can be a difficult task, as you will need good credit or a creditworthy co-signer to be approved for the loan. However, some companies, like Ascent and Earnest, offer private student loans that don’t require a co-signer. If you choose this option, be sure to research quotes to get the best terms and interest rates available to you.


Comments are closed.