Garibay, J. C., Herrera, F. A., Johnston, M. P., & Garcia, G. A. (2015). Layers of influence: Exploring institutional- and state-level effects on college student views toward access to public education for undocumented immigrants. Research in Higher Education. doi:10.1007/s11162-015-9400-0
Providing undocumented immigrants access to public education remains a pertinent issue facing both institutions of higher education and state governments. While instate resident tuition (ISRT) has remained a contentious policy, little is known about how such policies, as well as other state contexts, influence college students’ attitudes toward unauthorized immigrant students’ educational access. Using three-level multilevel models, we sought to understand how political, economic, and demographic contexts at the institutional and state level affect the development of US citizen students’ views toward undocumented immigrants’ access to public education during their undergraduate years. After controlling for student-level effects, findings show that institutional variables such as selectivity, control, and percentage of low-income students enrolled contribute to students’ attitude development. At the state level, findings show that students who attend institutions within states that have ISRT policies have more positive views towards undocumented immigrants’ access to public education at the end of college. This research highlights the critical need for higher education researchers, institutional leaders, and policy makers to better understand how institutional and state contexts shape students’ understanding of larger sociopolitical issues.