Information about SUCCESS National Convening 2024 coming soon!
Supporting Undocumented Students’ College & Career Equity: Strategies for Success (March 25- 27, 2022 at Swarthmore College, PA)
In March 2022, over a hundred and eighty people attended the inaugural SUCCESS convening. Attendees represented 67 institutions and organizations from across the country, and included campus and student leaders, organizational partners, student advocates, and policy experts. The goal of the SUCCESS convening was to bring together these diverse stakeholders to improve equitable access to higher education and careers for undocumented immigrant students, learn from each others’ successes, identify and solve common challenges, and produce a sustainable network in which to share promising practices. Following the convening, we asked the participants for their feedback on the sessions, and suggestions for how we should build on our time together for future convenings and collaboration. The convening received high marks from participants, who also shared excellent suggestions and ideas for the future.
“Traveling to the conference was very impactful, I had never flown and in this experience I was supported from all sides of my family seeing that this was not just for me but for everyone to get past fears that keep us from living.“
Areas of the convening that were most valuable to participants
Attendees found the state of play data very valuable and are interested in seeing how they can continue the conversations with each other. Other highlights included:
The connections and networking between students, advocates, practitioners and policy experts
Learning about what other institutions are doing and who are the key players in each campus
Identifying models and best practices to take back to their respective campuses to support undocumented students
“Overall, I felt re-energized around this work and learned a lot of very valuable campus tips, tools and a better understanding of the current policy landscape. Also, I felt that now I have an incredible list of individuals and organizations that I can reach out to for guidance and help as I begin to implement more of these ideas back on my campus.”
Ideas for Future Convenings:
Centering current undocumented voices and including immigrant experiences across the different diasporas
Keeping in mind who the target audience is and identifying speakers that resonate with and represent that audience
Combating the dreamer narrative more explicitly
Less presentations and more time for informal networking
Sharing more best practices from restrictive states
Suggestions for continuing the SUCCESS conversations and work:
Continue the sharing of best practices through learning communities that allow practitioners to dive deeper into specific areas of interest
Networking and community building through online platforms
Creating the space for more in person engagements or online group discussions/working groups
A directory of convening attendees
An archive of resources, guides, presentations, etc…
Host Partners in the Convening: The three organizational co-hosts for this convening represent the leading organizations supporting undocumented students in higher education, and Swarthmore College has generously agreed to serve as the convening’s campus host.
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just, forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus levels that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The Alliance also leads and directs the Higher Ed Immigration Portal, and TheDream.US and Immigrants Rising are partners in the Portal.
The nation’s largest college and career success program for immigrant youth, TheDream.US has provided more than 7,500 college scholarships to DREAMers attending over 75 partner colleges in 19 states and Washington, DC. This work is grounded in the belief that all young Americans, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to get a college education and pursue a meaningful career that contributes to our country’s future.
Immigrants Rising empowers undocumented students to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation. For more than a decade and a half, Immigrants Rising has also partnered with postsecondary institutions to develop actionable guidance and produced varied resources for undocumented students and educators alike. Through its Catalyst Fund initiative, Immigrants Rising partners with 32 colleges and universities across California to provide grant funds, capacity building, and technical assistance for campus-based educators. Immigrants Rising’s ongoing commitment is to work toward fostering sustainable policies, practices, and procedures which can lead to transformational institutional change in support of undocumented students.
Swarthmore College, a sanctuary campus since 2017, is proud to host the inaugural SUCCESS convening. A residential liberal arts college committed to peace, equity, and social responsibility, Swarthmore is located outside of Philadelphia, PA on a beautiful 425 acre arboretum- campus.
FWD.us is a leader in immigration advocacy, resources, and communications. FWD.us is a partner to Higher Ed Immigration Portal on state policy tracking and policy analysis.
Arizona State University
Arkansas Tech University
Borough of Manhattan College
Bryn Mawr College
California State University – Long Beach
California State University, San Marcos
City University of New York
College of the Desert
Colorado State University
Curran Berger & Kludt
Eastern Connecticut State University
El Camino College
Masa Group, LLC
Metropolitan State University – Denver
Miami Dade College
Mt. San Antonio College
National Immigration Forum
Nevada State College
Northampton Community College
Northern Arizona University
Northern Virginia Community College
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Presidents’ Alliance Student Strategy Table
Rutgers University Newark
Salt Lake Community College
Texas Tech University
The Kresge Foundation
UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy
UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
University of California – Berkeley
University of California – Davis
University of California – Los Angeles
University of California – Merced
University of California Riverside
University of Chicago
University of Chicago- Illinois
University of Michigan
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of Southern California
University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley
Washington State University
Resources and Materials
The SUCCESS Convening proceedings and the webinars, presentations, and toolkits produced as part of the workshops will be disseminated via the Higher Ed Immigration Portal, which will be used to generate sustained communities of practice for campuses to engage, network, and learn.
Core to the Portal’s mission is to provide stakeholders with the information and tools they need to support immigration policies that expand access to higher education, degree completion, and postgraduate career success.
Below you can find the recordings and resources that were shared and developed for the convening.
Friday March 25th
Listen to the spectrum of college and career supports available for undocumented students at the institutions participating in the SUCCESS convening. Receive key takeaways from the State of Play survey data, identify areas of strengths among institutions, and ensure student voices are centered to help ground us in the progression of building institutional change.
Explore the administrative and legislative paths now before us during these uncertain times for DACA, DREAM legislation, and immigration reform. Three national immigration reform leaders share their perspectives: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistant Secretary Eva Millona, a long-time immigrants rights leader and now an essential government official working from within; Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum, known for his forward-looking strategies and ability to bring diverse groups together; and Gaby Pacheco, a renowned advocate for undocumented students and leader at TheDream.US.
Saturday March 26th
Breaking Financial Barriers
Gain insight to funding issues and financial obstacles for undocumented students, including insights into meeting students’ actual educational costs.
Generating Institutional Funding to Support Undocumented Students Presentation
Explore the challenges facing students without work authorization who seek paid college internships and fellowships and explore existent solutions. Answer the questions: How can students search for and successfully access paid co-curricular opportunities? How can colleges and universities develop such opportunities on their campuses?
Discover pathways for undocumented students with and without DACA to find financial stability via entrepreneurial ventures and pursuing the #undocuhustle. Hear from undocumented entrepreneurs who have substantial experience and will share their career pathways and resources available to students, including worker coops, starting your business and working for yourself. Furthermore, it’ll be informative for campus staff and students hoping to develop resources for students post-graduation and pursuing a career regardless of their immigration status.
Graduate school is an increasingly necessary step for professional and economic development. Listen to experts share promising practices addressing barriers undocumented students face in accessing, funding, and completing graduate or professional school.
Listen to speakers discuss the role policymakers, students, advocates, and institutions can play in expanding access to professional and occupational licensure to all state residents, regardless of their immigration status.
Identify key elements of institutional leadership, including the support structures needed to ensure a welcoming, supportive campus for undocumented students. Campus and organizational leaders and students share their perspectives, with a focus on tips, lessons learned, and the importance of collaboration within and across campuses.
Students shared their pathways to higher education, what they found helpful along their journey and the many missing pieces they wish they had access to when going to college with their various immigration backgrounds.
Key Take aways:
Students don’t learn how to advocate for themselves right away. They start to develop a story of resilience. It is important for students to learn to be open enough with their status but not to be exposed. Even if a students is not ready to be a student advocate one can build up to it by networking. It is empowering to connect with student groups that share your struggles. Connecting with a fellow undoucmented student is powerful because one starts to create a community.
Getting information is a big obstacle – Universities do not always make it easy for students to find resources. Therefore sharing information and resources is important, especially because it can be scattered.
Listen to the unique experiences that UndocuEducators navigate at colleges and universities across the nation. UndocuEducators are individuals who are currently or formerly undocumented or in the process of adjusting their legal status and work in higher education. Panelists from California, Illinois and New York will highlight a variety of promising practices they have developed on their campus or organization and seek to replicate; address challenges in being directly impacted by immigration policies while serving undocumented students; and provide suggestions about how institutions can better support the hiring, retention, and success of UndocuEducators.
Listen to New York Times-bestselling memoirist Qian Julie Wang and Roberto G. Gonzales, renowned sociologist and director of the newly-formed Penn Migration Initiative, for a night of readings and dialogue on living undocumented in America. Wang shares personal experiences as an undocumented immigrant navigating higher education, as chronicled in her memoir, Beautiful Country, as well as her current work as a civil rights attorney. Gonzales will reflect on his ground-breaking study Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America, as well as more recent scholarship on the impacts of DACA. The authors will reflect on the implications of their work for higher education and career equity, including how campus practices must evolve to address a contemporary policy context in which fewer than half of all undocumented students in higher education are DACA-eligible or DACA recipients. Their discussion will be moderated by Salvador Rangel, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College, who originally came to the U.S. as an undocumented labor migrant.
Sunday March 27th
Campus, State and Federal Advocacy Session
To close our convening, we focused on our next steps–the advocacy and actions we can take at the institutional, state, and federal levels.