Dreams and Aspirations Denied The Educational Realities of by Levone


Undocumented Students
 in Higher Education

  Counselor Conference 2007
A Historical, Political
  and Educational
            Plyler v. Doe
• In 1982, MALDEF argued Plyler v. Doe
  before the Supreme Court and won.

• The court held that the children of
  unprotected immigrants were protected
  under the due-process clause of the
  Fourteenth Amendment and were entitled
  to a public education.
         “Leticia A” Ruling
• Leticia A 1985 Alameda County Superior
  Court ruling made it possible for
  undocumented immigrants who had
  graduated from a California high school to
  attend a California State University and avoid
  out-of-state fees.
• The ruling, called the "Leticia A" decision,
  allowed undocumented students to establish
  residency by demonstrating intent to reside in
  the state for more than a year.
          “Leticia A” Ruling
• 1985–1991: the Alameda County Court ruling
  on Leticia A v. UC Regents and California State
  University System establishes that
  undocumented students can be treated as
  residents for tuition and state financial aid

• Spring of 1991–1992: Los Angeles Superior
  Court overturns the Alameda County Leticia A
  court ruling for both the UC and CSU systems.
           “Leticia A” Ruling
• Community colleges are not mentioned in the ruling.
  However, the Community College Chancellors
  Office implements the new ruling.

• From 1992–2001, undocumented students
  attending the University of California, California
  State University and California community colleges
  were charged out-of-state tuition.

• Several attempts were made by legislators to
  introduce legislation to allow students to attend
  school and pay in-state fees, but there was much
Current and Existing
     State Law:
  Assembly Bill 540
            What is AB 540?
• On October 12, 2001, Governor Gray
  Davis signed Assembly Bill 540 into law.
• AB 540, authored by the late Assembly
  member Marco A. Firebaugh (D-South
  Gate), authorized any students, including
  undocumented students, who meet
  specified criteria to pay in-state tuition at
  California public colleges and
              AB 540 Eligibility
Students are eligible if…
• They have attended a California high school for 3
  or more years (can be nonconsecutive).
• They have or will graduate from a California high
  school or have attained a G.E.D.
• They have registered at or are currently enrolled at
  an accredited institution of higher education in
• They have filed or will file an affidavit as required by
  individual institutions, stating that they will apply for
  legal residency as soon as possible.
   What are AB 540’s Advantages and
• AB 540’s singular provision is to provide in-
  state tuition for unprotected immigrant

• AB 540 does not change a student’s resident

• AB 540 does not provide access to federal
  or state financial aid.
  Can Non-Eligible AB540 Student
   Attend a College or University?
• YES, they can attend as long as they meet
  the admissions criteria and are accepted by
  the college or university

• BUT:
    In most situations they will not be eligible for in-
    state tuition.
   They are also prevented from working unless
    they have a worker’s permit—which most do not.
Are Undocumented Students Eligible for
Direct Student Aid or Support Services?
• Both eligible and non-eligible AB 540 students
  in most cases will NOT qualify for public in-state
  or federal financial.

• However, both groups are eligible for private
  scholarships not requiring U.S. citizenship or
  legal residency.

• And, since EOP/AAP at UC is not a financial
  aid–based program, it can provide services to
  undocumented students.
        Financial Aid Eligibility
• Since financial aid is considered to be domestic
  assistance, it is available only to citizens or
  permanent residents or to those who are in this
  country for other than a temporary purpose.
     A student who is in the U.S. on an F-1 or F-2 student
      visa is, by definition, here for a temporary purpose, and
      therefore is not eligible.

• A non-citizen with permanent resident status in the
  U.S. will hold either form K-151 or form I-551 (Alien
  Registration Card or "Green" Card). The student is
  eligible for the federal financial aid.
      Financial Aid Eligibility
• A refugee or immigrant who is admitted to
  the United States for humanitarian reasons
  is eligible for federal student financial aid.

• Students who were born in the US, but
  whose parents are undocumented, are
  eligible for federal financial aid. They must
  report parents’ income using Social Security
  number 000-00-0000.
Student Profile
   Who are these Undocumented/
      Unprotected Students?
Undocumented/Unprotected students:
• Are NOT all Latinos-they come from many countries.
• Were brought to the U.S. at a very young age.
• Came to this country with their parents and have been
  raised here just like their U.S. citizen classmates.
• May reside with a relative because their parents are
  deceased or have stayed back home.
• Were brought to the U.S. without legal documentation
  or were brought with a visa that was allowed to expire.
• Have been raised here since childhood and therefore
  know no other country.
   Who are these Undocumented/
      Unprotected Students?
Undocumented/Unprotected students:
• May not even realize that they are here in violation of
  our immigration laws.
• Come from low-income families where parents often
  earn less than minimum wage.
• Often work 30-40 hours a week to help sustain the
  family and pay for their education.
• Are often high achievers who have excelled
  academically throughout their schooling.
• Are honest and hardworking adolescents and young
  adults who strive for academic as well as professional
 Building a Support Network
Campus Resources:
• Identify an official campus representative
  to be a liaison for students.
• Identify campus allies and safe zones.
• Establish student organizations.
• Find community organization referrals.
• Seek reputable legal assistance.
      Barriers and Challenges
Personal deterrent for students include:
• Limited financial support from family to help cover the
  cost of fees, books and personal expenses
• Transportation (commuting on the bus for many hours
  each way because they can not afford to live in
  university housing)
• Working excessive hours (no work = no education)
• Family obligations — helping with household and
  sibling responsibilities
• May feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness
• Current immigration laws that limit opportunities to
  legalize their residency status
• Fear of being detected by immigration authorities
     Barriers and Challenges
Educational deterrents include:
• Inability to obtain financial aid from the institution
• Inability to pursue academic careers that require
  state licensing, background checks or Social
  Security numbers (nursing, law, teaching, etc.)
• Inability to travel and participate in conferences, field
  trips or research colloquiums
• Inability to accept paid internships or qualify for on-
  campus student employment
• Inability to provide CA identification affects the ability
  to take tests for graduate school, i.e., GRE, MCAT
  and/or LSAT
• Inability to work in the chosen professional field after
     Barriers and Challenges
Institutional deterrents consist of:
• Limited information regarding AB 540 provisions
• Overall lack of commitment by campuses to serve
  AB 540 students
• Staff’s lack of knowledge regarding AB 540
  provisions and regulations
• Insensitivity, rudeness and demeaning attitude
• Students being turned away or denied access for
  failure to provide unnecessary documentation such
  as a Social Security number, driver’s license and/or
  residency documentation
State and Federal
What is the California Dream Act?
• The California Dream Act is a state
  legislative proposal (Senate Bill 66,
  formerly SB 160) that allows U.S. citizens
  and undocumented AB 540 students to
  apply and compete for financial aid at
  California public colleges and universities
  without the use of the Federal Application
  for Student Aid (FAFSA).
  What law will the California Dream
       Act specifically change?
• BOG Waivers: This bill would allow AB 540 students to apply
  for the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver at all public
  California community colleges.
• Institutional Student Aid: This bill would allow AB 540
  students to apply and compete for any student aid program
  administered by the attending college or university (i.e., State
  University Grant, UC Grant).
• State-Administered Student Aid Programs: This bill would
  allow AB 540 students to apply for other statewide student aid
  program such as, but not limited to, Cal Grants.
• AB 540 Clean-Up Language: This bill would delete the term
  high school and substitute the term secondary school for the
  eligibility of in-state tuition rates. This would allow students who
  finish their three years at continuation or adult schools to be
  eligible for AB 540 in-state tuition.
      What is the DREAM Act?
• The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien
  Minors Act (DREAM Act)
• Bipartisan legislation sponsored in the Senate by
  Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and
  Richard Lugar (R-IN), and in the House by Lincoln
  Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA) and
  Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
• Addresses the situation faced by young people who
  were brought to the U.S. years ago as
  undocumented immigrant children but who have
  since grown up here, stayed in school and kept out of
    What will the DREAM Act Do?
•   Under the DREAM Act, high school graduates would be
    permitted to apply for up to 6 years of legal residence
    conditional status.
•   During the 6-year period, the student would be required to
    graduate from a 2-year college, complete at least 2 years
    towards a 4-year degree, or serve in the U.S. military for at
    least 2 years.
•   Permanent residence would be granted at the end of the
    6-year period if the student has met these requirements
    and has continued to maintain good moral character.
•   The DREAM Act would also eliminate a federal provision
    that discourages states from providing in-state tuition to
    their undocumented immigrant student residents, thus
    restoring full authority to states to determine state college
    and university fees.
      Other State Initiatives
• To date there are 10 states that have
  passed legislation to allow undocumented
  students to enroll in colleges and pay
  resident fees:
   Texas,California, New York, Illinois, Kansas,
    Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, New Mexico
    and Nebraska

• Other states are reviewing similar bills.
   Implications and Shortcomings of
              State Bills
• Interpretation in the implementation process from
  one district to another, from one system to another
• Proof of required documentation varies
• Interpretation of the 3 year equivalency rule
• Training is necessary to inform educators and the
• Does not exempt students from graduate tests or
  allow them to apply for state credentials, i.e.,
  teaching, nursing, etc..
• National Immigration Law Center - Josh Bernstein
      www.nilc.org
• Center for Community Change
      www.communitychange.org
• MALDEF: Mexican American Legal Defense and
  Educational Fund
      www.maldef.org
• Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights of Los Angeles
      www.chirla.org
• Justice for Immigrants
      www.justiceforimmigrants.org/
• AB 540 Resource Guide – AB 540 Network
      Scholarship Resources
   www.maldef.org/pdf/Scholarships.pdf

• Latino College Dollars
   www.latinocollegedollars.org/DIRECTORY.pdf
      Information Websites
• nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/DREAM_Basic_Info_0205.pdf

• nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/Econ_Bens_DREAM&Stdnt_Adjst_0205.

• nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/DREAM_Durbin_stmnt_072204.pdf

• nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/DREAM%20Judiciary%20Sumry_040504.

• nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/TABLE_State_Leg_Imm_Higher-Ed.PDF

• uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm
      Questions? Contact Us…
Alfred Herrera, UCLA
(310) 267-4441

Alex Delgadillo, UC Santa Cruz
(831) 459-5499
Monica Galvan, UC Santa Cruz
(831) 459-1778

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