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.