California's Undocumented Students Speak Out

It is Undocumented Student Action Week and the Campaign for College Opportunity is pleased to share with you our latest brief,  In Their Voices: Undocumented in California Public Colleges & Universities. In Their Voices uplifts the experiences of undocumented students and highlights the ways in which our state and college leaders can better support undocumented students as they seek out college opportunity.

College opportunity is key to ensuring that California can meet its economic goals, and immigrant students are poised to make major contributions to future growth. California is home to  27% of the nation's undocumented immigrants  and educates an estimated   64,000 to 86,000 undocumented students in the state’s public colleges and universities.  

However,  educational attainment rates for California's undocumented students trail the nation's.
Educational Attainment of California's Undocumented Population, 25 years and older, 2012-2016
Source: Migration Policy Institute
After several interviews and group conversations with undocumented students, we found that:

1. Resources for undocumented students are inconsistent across college campuses.
2. Campus climate is often hostile for undocumented students.
3.    Access to financial aid is a key factor in an undocumented students’ ability to go to college.
4.   Undocumented students continue to need access to legal services and emergency services for themselves and/or their families.
5.   Professional experience requirements for graduation or professional development pose a challenge to undocumented students.
“Faculty and administration don’t take into account policy changes for Dreamers... I have been told by departments that I don’t belong here, or a program doesn’t exist here when it does.”

-Mariela, a community college student
We encourage you to read about the experiences of undocumented students and learn how state and campus leaders can become better allies to ensure undocumented students can achieve their college dreams.
Statewide Resources for Undocumented Students
The California Undocumented Higher Education Coalition, facilitated by the Campaign for College Opportunity, created an  Undocumented Student Resources Map, which shares a list of Dream Resource Centers, campus support centers, programs, helpful websites, and undocumented student liaisons at every public college and university in our state.