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New Policy Brief: The Washington State Dream Act

Posted by Tara Lee at Feb 14, 2014 11:30 PM |
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By Elena Hernandez --Today we released a new policy brief, The Washington State Dream Act: An Investment For All Washingtonians. Our findings show that everyone in our state benefits when we make higher education more attainable.  

The Washington State Dream Act would allow undocumented students that graduate from Washington state high schools to qualify for the State Need Grant - our state's need-based grant program.  Improving access to higher education leads to greater prosperity for individuals and their communities while providing significant benefits to the state economy.  

Highlights include:

Increased Earnings

Higher education helps ensure that individuals and their families can meet their basic needs and thrive in an increasingly competitive economy.

  • People who receive a bachelor’s degree earn $840,000 more over their working life than people with only a high school diploma.
  • An associate’s degree yields $300,000 more.

Positive Return to Communities

For Dreamers that receive the State Need Grant the return to the state and their communities would outweigh the costs.

  • Every $1 invested in Dreamers who graduate from a four-year university would produce a $2 increase in state and local tax dollars.
  • Every $1 invested in Dreamers who graduate who graduate from a community and technical college produce a $4 increase in state and local tax dollars.
  • Over time, the net return on this investment for the state could be as much as $43,000 per graduate at a four-year university and $22,000 per graduate at a community and technical college.

Figure 4.0

 Addressing the Opportunity Gap

Dreamers are less likely to graduate from high school than their peers, and even amongst those that do graduate, only 49% of them pursue higher education

    • Improved access to financial aid not only incentivizes high school completion, it also improves college enrollment and persistence
    Read the full brief here.


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