As I approach the end of my internship with the National Forum on Higher Education, I find myself reflecting on all of the great work that’s being done in this office. My manager asked me to work on a final project before I leave my internship. All she’s asked to do is work on a template for an annual report that the National Forum wants to put together. However, by asking me to work on this, she’s also asked me to think more on what is important about working in higher education for the public good, and the problems that our society faces at the moment within the context of higher education.
Many of the researchers that work in the National Forum focus their work in higher education on the obstacles that undocumented students face in universities. Undocumented immigrants face many more bars to higher education than citizens of the United States come across–while many of them come from low-income families and are in need of financial aid to assist them in affording university costs, their situations often prevent them from having access to the resources that come naturally to and are expected by documented students. This being just one of many problems, some universities have networks of support aimed toward undocumented students. However, not all of these support systems are well-marketed or well-organized and, as a result, students often aren’t aware of them. Working in the National Forum, I’ve also learned that many undocumented students are required to pay out of state tuition, which can be a daunting amount per year for any low-income student.
I’m glad to be a part of an office that works to close the support deficit between documented and undocumented students. In today’s political climate more than ever, it’s important for people to take a stand and work to support vulnerable communities.