Undocumented Immigrants in Minnesota: The Education Impact


Just like everyone else, kids of undocumented immigrants- and adults, though to a much lesser degree- attend public, and, yes, private schools in Minnesota. But often times, the state pays the bill. In fact, the bulk of the $188 million that undocumented immigrants cost the state goes to pay for increasingly expensive education, according to Minnesota Department of Administration.

Ironically, Minnesota is one of only 10 states in the nation that have seen a 30-39 percent spike in the number undocumented immigrants between 2002-2004, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

That, of course, yielded an unusually high number of undocumented children in public schools and sizable number of U.S.-born children whose parents are undocumented. Of the 1.7 million undocumented children and the three million U.S.-born children from undocumented parents in the country, the Pew Hispanic Center figures that there are between 15,000 – 20,000 children from both groups.

Cognizant that the cost of K-12 public education system was $8,379 per year in 2003-2004 school year, and that 94 percent of undocumented children attend public schools, the state figured that $118.14 million to $157.53 million of the taxpayers’ money is spent on educating undocumented children or U.S.-born children from undocumented parents.

Higher Education

Though the Urban Institute estimates that there are about 2,500 – 3,000 undocumented higher education students in Minnesota colleges and universities, the state, unlike nine others in the union, offers no in-state tuition or scholarships for undocumented students. The impact, therefore, is nonexistent in this area.

Needless to say, but the revenue generated by undocumented workers, who many of them pay taxes, is not factored in these reports. In one of my upcoming reports, I’ll particularly analyze the often-overlooked revenue impact to the state.

2 thoughts on “Undocumented Immigrants in Minnesota: The Education Impact

  1. I’m glad to see you tackling the education costs of undocumented students in public schools. Governor Pawlenty addressed rising education costs when he appeared at the Humphrey Institute in July, even though there are fewer students in K-12 than 40 years ago. He made an interesting point — but I’m curious if the reason the state is spending more money on public education is because it’s more expensive and laborious to have English Language Learning and Special Education in the public schools. If the recent Brookings Institution report is right, and the gap between the haves and have nots is growing, then it seems this would make sense that the public schools are having to spend more on students who aren’t getting, or can’t get instruction at home, or aren’t encouraged to be learners.

  2. you also come from parents who are form a diffrent country and you sit here bad talking about undocumented students that all they want is a shot at an oppurtunity of education, also nobody asked them if they wanted to come their parents did it because back in their native countries there is no possible way they can afford education. And if you are an educated person you now that you shouldn’t put any racial slurs like the one you have in your paper. Very disapointed that this comes from a person that their parents come form a diffrent country.

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