I also have been working on research through the National Forum. This project is focused on undocumented students and their access and experiences with higher education. Given the current political climate, undocumented and DACAmented students have been at the center of a lot of debate. Other than their right to reside in the country they were raised in, another issue is their access to higher education. Although some people see this situation with a definitive solution, the dilemma involving the future of these students is far more complex.
In the Supreme Court case of Plyer vs. Doe in 1982, it was ruled that students regardless of immigrant status were eligible to attend K-12 public schools. This let undocumented students receive schooling through their childhood; however, they have limited options to go beyond high school graduation. Sometimes they are not aware of their status until adolescence when they are denied of basic rights their peers have, such as a driver’s license and college. Laws and policies regarding undocumented students vary between states, and in some states, they vary by institution. Some states ban undocumented students all together from attending public colleges, other states offer in-state tuition and state financial aid. Students that share this identity usually share similar obstacles. Having to navigate the college search and application processes on their own due to the lack of resources and knowledge (sometimes compassion) of advisors, trying to figure out how to pay for college without financial aid when many are already from lower SES families, and dealing with a status that is dangerous to reveal yet necessary to uncover for the purposes of finding help pertaining to their distinct situations.
This project analyzes the policies of institutions of higher education within the state of Michigan in how they affect, help, or deter undocumented students. I am currently working on finding and analyzing past literature to write the literature review portion giving background and guiding the project. This has given me the opportunity to learn about policy and its rippling affect on populations but also the experiences of students that have had to make their own doors to attain a college education. By organizing this information, schools and other advocates can provide better resources and guidance to these students, allowing these students to have the opportunity to contribute to this country.