As Georgia Considers Expanding In-State Tuition, New Research Shows Legislation for Dreamers Could Lead to $3.4 million in Additional Tax Revenue for Georgia

New data shows significant economic benefits for the state, including $27.6 Million More in Immigrants’ Spending Power Every Year

Atlanta, Georgia – Today New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan immigration research and advocacy organization, released a new study showing how extending in-state tuition to all residents, regardless of immigration status, would significantly benefit Georgia’s economy. This research comes as the Georgia General Assembly considers several bills, including House Bill 997, that would expand in-state tuition access to undocumented students known as Dreamers who have grown up in Georgia and have graduated from the state’s high schools or passed a high school general equivalency exam.

New American Economy’s analysis finds that if Georgia granted access to in-state tuition for the state’s Dreamers, it could lead to an additional $3.4 million in state and local tax revenue and $27.6 million in spending power that could be reinvested back into the state’s economy each year.

The report also found that Georgia would see an additional:

  • 3,744 undocumented students eligible to enroll in college
  • 2,257 graduates within six years, resulting in a total of $36.1 million in additional annual income due to additional wages after graduation
  • $8.5 million in federal income, state, and local taxes annually
  • $27.6 million in spending power annually due to additional wages after graduation

Local employers would also benefit from the expansion of in-state tuition. With Georgia’s unemployment rate at a record low 3.2 percent, businesses across the state are facing worker shortages that limit their ability to grow and compete. Making college tuition affordable to Dreamers would increase the talent pool of qualified, educated workers in the state.

If in-state tuition is enacted, Georgia will join nearly 20 states, including Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma, that offer in-state tuition to all residents, including qualified undocumented students.

“Job opportunities exist all across the state of Georgia; however, due to skills mis-match, many Georgians still find it difficult to gain employment,” said Chris Clark, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber. “By 2025, 60% of Georgia jobs will require a post-secondary level education with higher skills than currently exist. The Georgia Chamber supports efforts like HB997 that will increase the number of students accessing higher education, building a New Georgia Economy talent pool for long term economic mobility, empowerment and prosperity.”

“At Gas South, we invest in our employees by offering tuition assistance for individuals furthering their education because affordability is a key concern,” shared Kevin Greiner, President and CEO of Gas South. “Initiatives that expand access and opportunity for those choosing to further their education will have long-term benefits for Georgia businesses and the Georgians we employ.” 

“The top issue facing our industry is finding and retaining qualified workers. We support efforts to improve education in our workforce and believe it will help the quality of our service today and ensure business success in the future,” said Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

“Creating a pathway for more Georgia high school graduates to pay their way through college isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart economic policy,” said Kate Brick, Director State and Local Initiatives of New American Economy. “As states across the country compete for talent and struggle to fill jobs across industries, Georgia would be well served to minimize barriers for its students to access higher education and go on to join the state’s workforce.”

Find the full report, including its methodology, here.

About New American Economy

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded to educate, empower and support policymakers, influencers, and citizens across the country that see the economic and social benefits of a smart approach to immigration reform. NAE has created a coalition of civic, business, and cultural leaders who span the political spectrum and represent all 50 states. NAE makes the case for smart immigration reform in four ways: 1) we use powerful research to demonstrate how immigration impacts our economy, 2) we organize champions at the grassroots and influencer levels to build support for immigration, 3) we partner with state and local leaders to advocate for policies that recognize the value immigrants add locally, and 4) we show immigrant contributions to American culture through film, food, art, sports, comedy, and more. Visit newamericaneconomy.org  to learn more.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…