ICYMI: “The Solution to Declining College Enrollment? Immigrants” – New Boston Globe Op-Ed 

ICYMI: “The Solution to Declining College Enrollment? Immigrants” – New Boston Globe Op-Ed 

For Immediate Release: May 05, 2023
Contact: Jill Welch, Senior Policy Advisor,

Washington, D.C.— Following the recent “Higher Education Pathways to Immigration: Why it Matters” summit in late April, event co-hosts and moderators  Carola Suárez-Orozco and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco have written an important op-ed for the Boston Globe on the positive impact immigrants can have on the currently declining enrollment rates of higher education institutions. 

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco is Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Boston and Carola Suárez-Orozco is a Professor in Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Director of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard. Both affiliated organizations were co-hosts of the April 21 summit, along with the Presidents’ Alliance and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Read their Boston Globe op-ed, “The solution to declining college enrollment? Immigrants” and find key excerpts below, followed by additional resources from the recent summit.

“Immigrant origin youth — those with at least one parent born outside of the United States — are the fastest growing group of students in higher education today. New data estimates revealed at the recent Higher Education Pathways to Immigration: Why it Matters Summit indicate they make up a stunning 31 percent of all college students across the United States — a 58 percent increase from 2000 to 2018. The majority (84 percent) of these students are citizens either by birth (68 percent) or through naturalization (16 percent).

… The only group growing enrollments in higher education are immigrant origin students — and they are projected to be the primary group driving growth of the US labor market into 2035. They play a particularly important role in the science, technology, engineering, and math sector of the economy: Approximately a quarter of all STEM workers in our country and well over a quarter of all physicians and surgeons practicing in the United States are of immigrant origin.

But is higher education recognizing these students and serving them well? Are those institutions harnessing their energies, creating spaces of belonging, and easing pathways for students who are often the first-generation to attend college? The answer is higher education, the states, and Congress need to do better.

… Immigration is at once central to the history of the United States as well as to our destiny; as colleges continue to face declining demographics, there needs to be an all-hands-on-deck approach to nurture the talent of the next generation — the American immigrant generation.”



The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus level that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.