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Findings from Ford Foundation-Backed Study on Undocumented Immigrant Students Unveiled in Washington, D.C. Research conducted by Fairfield University, Loyola University Chicago, and Santa Clara University adds to debate on policies for undocumented students.
Like any student, A.J. Bastida was thrilled the day he learned that he would be one of four high-achieving students to receive a scholarship to attend Santa Clara University in California’s Silicon Valley. But unlike others, this scholarship was virtually his only chance to attend college – because from the age of 5, A.J. had lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant, making other forms of financing or aid unavailable to him.
Now pursuing a law degree at SCU and a grateful recipient of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Bastida spoke Tuesday, Feb. 26 about the many challenges and occasional triumphs of pursuing higher education as an undocumented student.
“I am a true testament to what Jesuit education really means,” said Bastida.
In an effort to understand and help students like A.J., about 150 Jesuit university and college presidents, students, faculty, administrators and representatives from Congress member’s and Senator’s offices attended an event Tuesday titled “Immigration: Undocumented Students in Higher Education.”
At the event, held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, researchers from the three universities unveiled a new Immigrant Student National Position Paper, which included findings about the obstacles faced by undocumented students, as well as recommendations for new practices, procedures, and a model of leadership in higher education regarding access to education, particularly for the undocumented.
“At the heart of the Immigrant Student National Position Paper is a call for improved institutional practices at Jesuit institutions in the United States to help these young people flourish on campus and off,” said project leader Richard Ryscavage, S.J., a Jesuit priest, sociology professor and director of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield University.
“Ultimately, this project presents a way of proceeding on this area of immigration that informs and helps shape the national educational discourse. Our findings revealed that a pathway to citizenship will not solve all of the challenges these student face. Additional policies that address the needs of the students as well as their families are critical.”
The Ford Foundation backed the study.
For more on the findings click here.