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Overview

Higher education practitioners serve a unique role in helping ease access to higher education and promote inclusive practices on campuses where undocumented students attend. There are several ways different members of the higher education community can help support students. 

Governing Boards and Presidents: As the executive administrators of higher education institutions, governing boards and presidents can serve as a voice for inclusion and adopt inclusive policies regarding undocumented youth. 
 

General Counsel: General counsel are best equipped to navigate legal ambiguity of immigration and higher education policy. 

Diversity Officers: While not all colleges and universities have a diversity officer, many institutions have some variation of chief executive positions that help them articulate the need for inclusion and diversity within their college or university. Diversity officers can play a critical role in leading discussions about how to best welcome undocumented students to campus. In addition, these officers are well positioned to help lead committees and diversity initiatives that can foster conversations that highlight the importance of the issue.

Admissions: Admissions officers are often the first point of contact for prospective undocumented students. The admissions staff can support undocumented students by: 

  • Being aware of the admissions policy of their institutions.
  • Preparing materials that explain admissions policies and continuously updating their websites with this information.
  • Including information for undocumented students and offering materials at college fairs and admissions workshops.
  • Alerting high school counselors about their institutions' policies for admitting undocumented students. 

Financial Aid Officers: Undocumented students do not have access to federal financial aid, and most states do not provide state financial aid. As a result, financial aid officers must be aware of their institution's financial aid policies and ways to assist undocumented students in securing private aid. The financial aid office can support students by: 

  • Training staff and officers on the state and institutional financial aid practices. FAFSA's website provides sample modules and worksheets and Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) offers a specific guide for California.
  • Preparing financial aid materials for undocumented students.
  • Pointing students to private available scholarships. Check the national map for scholarships and proponents specific to your state. 

Registrars: Because registrars handle all student records and supervise post secondary registration, their work directly affects undocumented students. Registrar offices are responsible for policies related to residency requirements at their institution and in their state. Registrars can ensure greater access to undocumented students by:

  • Being aware of changes in residency and/or tuition policies at the institution. 
  • Training staff about residency and registration policies on undocumented students. 
  • Advocating for undocumented students and being available if a student has any specific questions. 
Student Affairs: Student affairs offices can encompass many roles that offer supportive services to students. Broadly speaking, student affairs staff primarily advise students. As a result, student affairs staff can serve as confidants to undocumented students and support a welcoming environment.

The Resources Section of uLEAD provides tools and information to assist the higher education community in supporting undocumented student access.  These tools range from webinars to reusable training modules.