Summarized from an Opinion Piece/Boston Globe
The solution to declining college enrollment? Immigrants.
By Carola Suárez-Orozco and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco
Carola Suárez-Orozco is the professor-in-residence and director of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco is the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts
US colleges are facing declining enrollments except in one group of students – immigrant origin students. While colleges are facing enrollment declines due to rising costs, declining numbers of college aged students, alternative types of education like trade schools, the pandemic, and a strong job market, immigrant origin students, or students who have at least one foreign born parent) are rising – a whopping 31% of college students in 2018 – up 58% since 2000.
Predictions are that by 2035, immigrant origin individuals well be the single largest demographic driving our labor force. Currently about 25% of all STEM jobs and practicing physicians are immigrant origin students.
Many feel that our colleges and universities need to do a better job of acknowledging the complicated history of some of these students and need to recognize their experiences in migration to the US, and multilanguage and cultural barriers. Some of these students are a family’s first time experience with a son, daughter, sister, brother attending college. While many of these students are citizens, there are still those who were brought to the US as children, attended grammar and high school here and are now caught up in DACA limbo with no clear path to citizenship through no fault of their own.
“Immigration is at once central to the history of the United States as well as to our destiny…”