While the immigration literature has increasingly stressed the importance of local context in shaping life chances, our understanding of the impact that local variation in financial aid has on immigrant life chances is limited. To bridge this gap, this paper uses a mixed-methods study of Mexican immigrants and their children living in Tucson, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico – a critical comparison – to show that 1) past researchers’ conclusion that broad access to financial aid increases college completion for low-income students in general also applies to Mexican immigrants and their children; 2) that educational expectations are a key mediator conditioning uptake in financial aid and that 3) students in the middle of the academic distribution have educational expectations that are the most sensitive to broad-based financial aid. Beyond showing that financial aid – a component of local context – also changes the educational outcomes of an immigrant group, this study shows the importance of aspirations and expectations in mediating this impact.
- Program in Latina/o American Studies
- Effron Center for the Study of America