More than half of higher education institutions responding to an educational association’s recent survey indicated that they knowingly admit illegal immigrants to their colleges and universities.
Only 178, or 45 percent, of the 384 responding institutions said they do not “knowingly admit undocumented students…under certain circumstances.”
The data was collected by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), a non-profit association of “more than 10,000 higher education admissions and registration professionals” from more that 2,500 “institutions” worldwide.
613 American colleges and universities responded to the survey, but around two-fifths answered every question.
The U.S. had 4,276 two-year and four-year colleges and universities as of 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau statistical abstracts.
According to the AACRAO data, of 571 institutions responding to the question “Do you verify the status of applicants claiming U.S. citizenship/legal residence?” only 20 percent said that they verify the citizenship of all applicants. Many others do so after prospective students apply for financial aid or seek in-state tuition.
133 schools—almost one in four—did not verify the citizenship of any prospective students.
The methods by which citizenship is verified are sometimes less than rigorous. 336 schools answered the question, “how do you verify?” Of these, 125 institutions (37 percent) required a “birth certificate or passport”—the same number as those institutions which “indicated student self-report or relevant forms completed by student.”
In other words, 37 percent of schools which chose to verify applicants’ citizenship allow these people to self-certify or supply indirect information on paperwork.
“If you admit undocumented students to degree or diploma programs, what are the requirements that those undocumented students must satisfy to be eligible for admission?,” asked the survey. 320 schools responded and
• 88 required “graduation from an instate-high school or GED,
• 60 schools required “attendance at an in-state high school” for a specified time,
• 49 required an “affidavit, statement or certification of the student’s intent to resolve his/her immigration status,” and
• 31 required “proof of length of residence.”
92 institutions “indicated other,” according to the AACRAO.
The most likely consequence of a school suspecting or confirming that an applicant was in the United States illegally was to charge the student higher tuition (38%), followed by the school not permitting them to enroll (23%), enrolling them without conditions (16%), “other” (11%), permitting enrollment under “certain conditions” (10%), and asking enrolled students to withdraw from the student body (2%).
203 institutions responded to this question, which was predicated upon the assumption that schools were following up on the inability of an undocumented applicant to supply the high-school-related or residency documentation which the university or college had requested.
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.