ERIC Number: EJ895377
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: N/A
Dreams Deferred and Dreams Denied
Diaz-Strong, Daysi; Gomez, Christina; Luna-Duarte, Maria E.; Meiners, Erica R.
Academe, v96 n3 p28-31 May-Jun 2010
As faculty and administrators at federally designated "Hispanic serving institutions" (defined as colleges and universities having a minimum Latino student population of 25 percent), the authors came together in part because of the lack of research on the experiences of undocumented students, particularly in the Midwest; their own personal histories with immigration; their ongoing interactions with undocumented students; and their commitment to progressive immigration reform that includes amnesty. During the course of two years they have collected more than forty oral histories of undocumented students in the Chicago metropolitan area. Research from the Center for Urban Economic Development suggests that approximately twenty thousand undocumented students live within the city limits, thirty-five hundred graduate from high school each year, and 6.1 percent of these high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution. With open access and affordability as a part of their mission, community colleges continue to be the most realistic option for many who would not otherwise have access to a postsecondary education. That includes undocumented students. But simply enrolling students is not sufficient. Community colleges might be more accessible than four-year institutions, but "serving requires knowing the needs of the students and being intentional about addressing their needs." The authors' research and interviews suggest that a lack of institutional transparency in procedures and policies, inadequate financial support, and fear continue to shape how students without a legal visa or permanent resident card negotiate access to higher education. While immigration reform is still under debate, and tuition costs creep up, community colleges (and other postsecondary institutions) must assess whether they are truly serving undocumented students or simply enrolling them. To serve undocumented students, the authors contend that community colleges must create awareness of the struggles faced by this population and clearly communicate institutional policies and available resources to faculty, staff, and feeder high schools. In addition, community colleges must be creative in increasing the financial resources available to undocumented students; more than one or two scholarships must be available. Finally, community colleges must form partnerships with four-year universities to assist undocumented students in the transfer process. While one or two committed advocates on the campus will often do some of this work, comprehensive efforts to address the needs of undocumented students must come more broadly from the faculty and the administration.
Descriptors: Immigration, Undocumented Immigrants, Oral History, Student Experience, Phenomenology, Educational Opportunities, Citizenship, Public Policy, College Role, Enrollment Management, Paying for College, Hispanic American Students, Migrant Children, Migrant Problems
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A