Student access and the "new" immigrants : assessing their impact on institutions

by Maryann Jacobi Gray, Georges Vernez, Elizabeth S. Rolph

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In order to determine the extent of immigrants' participation in U.S. higher education and how institutions are responding to these new demands, this study focused on both immigrants and institutions. Immigrants are more likely than natives to enroll in a precollege high school curriculum and to continue to college. These patterns held across all racial and ethnic groups studied; disparities be-tween immigrants and natives were largest for Hispanics and smallest for Asians. Case studies of institutions indicate that (1) immigrants are not an identified population on the nation's campuses, (2) administrators report inadequate language skills as immigrants' most outstanding problem, but believe that immigrants generally do better than native-born students, and (3) here is opposition to the introduction of special support programs or offices for immigrant students. Institutional policies and practices related to immigrants inevitably involve trade-offs among students, since resources are limited. These trade-offs should be made based on a thoughtful analysis of institutional role and capacity.

Originally published in: Change, v. 28, no. 5, September-October 1996, pp. 41-47.

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