The National Forum is compiling results of a comprehensive study of the practical, procedural, and policy-related difficulties faced by undocumented and DACAmented students seeking to enroll in Michigan colleges and universities.
Funded by the Kresge foundation in 2017, the broad goal of this effort is reflected in the title given by the foundation, “Building Institutional Support for Undocumented Students in Michigan Public Colleges and Universities.” The project focuses on higher education institutional support, which is critical. Yet, the information we now have in hand would be of greatest use to students, families and communities. Communicating information and opportunity to those desperately seeking it---and in a way that genuinely responds to their needs as they define them---is the activity at the heart of this project. The National Forum will continue and foster its relationship with Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) through the creation of college access resources for undocumented students. In particular, we note that one of MCAN’s values – “college is for everyone” – underscores the necessity of this work. College should be for everyone, regardless of documentation or citizenship status.
The innovative program grant from MCAN will allow the National Forum to elevate and disseminate the research findings to undocumented students and their families statewide, as well as those working in the frontlines of college access: high school college guidance counselors, admissions and financial aid representatives. With your support and assistance from MCAN, the National Forum will build upon our alliance with Washtenaw Futures College Access Network to include additional LCANs. These partnerships will enable us to learn from Michigan’s undocumented students themselves, as well as the educators who support them. We propose that our program include preliminary listening exercises: how can we know what students, families and practitioners need without asking them? This is a frequently ignored – yet essential – competent of providing beneficial tools to students and educators. We believe that placing better information in the hands of students will encourage and empower them to seek college admission upon finishing high school. Additionally, even as we aim to empower prospective undocumented students who aspire to college, we will provide opportunities, employment and a path to service for current students at the University of Michigan who may be personally undocumented and are passionate about undocumented college access.