Dutchess Community College has formed a cross-departmental Consortium for undocumented students to create a supportive environment and address systemic issues to facilitate undocumented students’ access and educational success at DCC. The Consortium aims to make information available to all students and their families regardless of their immigration status as well as potential students throughout our area. The Consortium aims to educate and inform faculty, staff, and community members about the issues facing undocumented students and their families in our country today.
Name of Community College: Dutchess Community College (DCC)
Title of Program: Consortium for Undocumented Students (https://www.sunydutchess.edu/admissions/become_a_student/daca.html).
Type of Program: Collaborative coalition of support and informational resources for students, faculty, staff, and community members.
Primary Division(s) or Department(s) involved: Multi-faceted/ College and community members.
Key Partners: Catholic Charities, Legal Services of Hudson Valley, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, Rural and Migrant Ministry, La Voz, Vassar College, Newburgh CSD, Planned Parenthood, Hudson Valley Dream Makers, State University of New York (SUNY) Welcome Center, Westchester Community College, DCC alumni.
Populations Served: Undocumented students.
Immigration status required: All students are eligible regardless of immigration status.
In this Article:
1. Need for Program
Since 2015, the DCC Consortium has recognized the need for a coalition to address the needs of undocumented and DACA students and potential students regardless of citizenship status. The college’s strong message of support for undocumented students is noted on the webpage created by the Consortium: “We welcome your participation both in the classroom and through involvement in the extracurricular activities offered on campus. Your contribution will be valued and your perspective will add to the diversity that makes us strong. . . At DCC, we will continue to ensure that all of our students are able to attend classes in an environment that is supportive, free from fear, and sensitive to the unique challenges they may be facing. It is not now – nor has it ever been – our practice to identify or “track” students by their citizenship status.”
2. Brief Description of Program
DCC has formed a cross-departmental Consortium for undocumented students to create a supportive environment for some of its most vulnerable students and to address systemic issues to facilitate undocumented students’ access and educational success at DCC, including revamping its application to clarify qualifications for undocumented students to be able to attend.
3. Specific Population Served
The Consortium aims to make information available to all students and their families regardless of their immigration status as well as potential students throughout our area. The Consortium also aims to educate and inform faculty, staff, and community members about the issues facing undocumented students and their families in our country today.
4. Goals and Objectives
The goal of the Consortium is to gather and disperse pertinent information regarding the needs of our students and potential students to ensure their access to quality education and services in the community. To this goal, the diverse membership of the Consortium consistently seeks information and resources that will enable this end. The Consortium created a handbook, available on the Consortium’s webpage. The handbook provides important information to help our undocumented students achieve success, including guidelines for applying to DCC, eligibility for financial aid and scholarships, English as a Second Language programs, DCC support services, and community and legal resources for students. The Consortium meets regularly in person as well as sharing information through forums and other Campus-wide events to keep the community as well informed as possible. Due to Covid, the Consortium has moved its meetings and sponsored events to a virtual format.
As a result of the Consortium efforts, access to quality education for all students despite their legal status has certainly increased. The Consortium has been able to increase awareness of opportunities such as the Jose Peralta DREAM Act (https://www.hesc.ny.gov/dream) to afford student access to financial aid possibilities. The Consortium has also been able to partner with community members who have shed light upon scholarship opportunities as well. The webpage on undocumented and DACA students includes college resources and links to SUNY immigration information and updates. A student-led initiative has created broader support networks among allies, DACA recipients, other undocumented students, community organizations, and four-year colleges.
Community Partners – See above list
- Campus partners:
- Financial Aid
- ESL Program
- President’s Office
7. Success Factors
The key factors involved collaborative efforts between these diverse members of our Consortium.
The strength of the Consortium is an unprecedented coalition of various community members committed to this social justice movement along with members of the Campus community.
8. Challenges Faced
Challenges have included the very changing American landscape and unpredictability of the current political climate. Though we are optimistic that the new federal administration will work toward a welcoming and supportive environment that expands protections and opportunities for all immigrant students regardless of status.
Additionally, reaching students who have traditionally been “in the shadows” remains a consistent issue that we confront in our efforts to disseminate information
9. Funding and Sustainability
The Consortium has operated without a budget since its inception in 2015. The DCC President unexpectedly awarded the Consortium a $2500 stipend in 2019 and recognized the value with this one time award.
Staff and Faculty have volunteered to participate on their own time.
10. Contact Information
Name: Paula Lockshon, LMSW
Title: Chair,Consortium for Undocumented Students
Organization: Consortium for Undocumented Students
Email Address: Paula.Lockshon@sunydutchess.edu
Phone Number: 845 431-8345