Education Policy

College Preparation and Access that Expands Opportunities in Georgia

photo of boy at table with bookAll students should be prepared for success in college so that they can determine their own futures.

Students’ educational opportunities are harmed when policies and practices track students to less rigorous coursework or assign them to their post-secondary path based on assumptions about their abilities.  All students should be prepared and knowledgeable about how to access higher education if they so choose.

Learn more about IDRA’s work to ensure college preparation and access that expands opportunities below.

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Gaining access to higher educational opportunities is vital for the success of Georgia’s students. In fact, a recent Georgia State University study showed that attending a Georgia university substantially raises students’ household income around age 30 by more than $11,000, a boost researchers show is driven by gains for students from low-income high schools, whose household income increase was almost 40%.

Given these benefits, efforts to increase access to higher education should be championed. However, Georgia is one of the few states that makes accessing higher education harder for undocumented immigrant students. Georgia ranks eighth in the nation in the number of students who participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, with 20,900 enrolled recipients out of the qualifying 44,000 living in the state. These students are ineligible to receive in-state tuition even though they reside in the state, pay taxes and graduate from Georgia schools. Georgia is one of only three states, including Alabama and South Carolina, that prohibit state support for undocumented immigrant students to enroll in higher education, even going further as to banning enrollment at some of Georgia‘s top research institutions.

Policy Recommendations for Georgia

To create college preparation and access that expands opportunities, Georgia education leaders should:

  • Revise high school graduation pathways and requirements to ensure all students access rigorous curriculum, including Algebra II, for college readiness.
  • Protect and expand access to higher education for all students, especially students of color and from low-income families, and keep in-state tuition for undocumented students.
  • Re-regulate public universities’ tuition rates and increase funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Eliminate bans on in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students and provide in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students
  • Implement policies to help expand access to college for students, especially those who are underrepresented.

For more information, contact Terrence Wilson, J.D., IDRA Regional Policy and Community Engagement Director (