Universal Mentors Association

New reports assess pandemic’s impact on tuition policies and financial aid for undocumented students


Most states were able to keep financial aid programs at public colleges intact during the pandemic, but they were not able to provide financial aid to undocumented students or make them eligible for in-state tuition.

These are among the findings of two new reports released Thursday by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

The reports use survey results to evaluate state tuition policies for undocumented students as well as the effects of the pandemic on state tuition and financial aid policies.

Federal pandemic relief funds protected a vast majority of existing state financial aid programs, according to the report. Additionally, 14 states said the funds allowed them to expand existing programs and/or pilot new ones. Only two states, Nevada and Oregon, reported a reduction in financial aid budgets due to the pandemic, Jessica Colorado, a policy analyst at SHEEO and author of one the reports, said in a press release.

The survey results were not as positive when it came to undocumented students. Only about a quarter of states offer in-state tuition to undocumented students in both their two- and four-year institutions, and about half deem undocumented students ineligible for state financial aid, the survey responses showed.

The effects of state financial aid policies on undocumented students often mirror federal policies, but state grant and in-state tuition regulations still “vary widely across the U.S.,” Rachel Burns, who authored the other report and is also a policy analyst at SHEEO, said in the press release.


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