Attaining a college education is only a dream for thousands of deserving Massachusetts high school graduates, according to law student Katharine McCarten, author of the Rappaport Briefing commentary “A DREAM Deferred: In-State Tuition for Massachusetts’ Undocumented Students.”

McCarten argues in favor of a proposed Massachusetts bill that would allow certain undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.

There are about 160,000 undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts, and about 1,700 graduate from high schools across the state annually, according to McCarten, who points out that out-of-state tuition and fees at a state university can be double the amount paid by state residents.

“Regrettably, immigration is such a politically divisive issue that it remains difficult, if not impossible, to pass in-state tuition in a state without a large immigrant population such as Texas and California,” she writes. “In Massachusetts, that means that for the foreseeable future, a college education for thousands of deserving high school graduates will likely remain only a dream.”

McCarten has a particular interest in education policy and health law. She is interning with the Board of Medical Licensure at Rhode Island’s Department of Health.

The Rappaport Briefing offers a collection of student commentaries on issues confronting state and local government in Massachusetts, from utilities regulation to the new bottle bill.

The briefing blog, created by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University Law School, also presents news about Rappaport Center activities.