Higher education institutional agents as policy implementers: The case of policies that affect undocumented and DACAmented students

This study examined the role higher education institutional agents had as implementers of policies that affected undocumented and DACAmented students. A total of 45 community college professionals in states with equitable and exclusionary policies pertaining to undocumented students’ college access (California, Connecticut, Georgia, and Wisconsin) were interviewed. The findings explore those factors that shaped higher education institutional agents’ implementation of policies that affected undocumented and DACAmented students. This includes the changing implementation landscape, policy vagueness, implementation burden, and institutional support. Additionally, the findings revealed several roles that policy implementers fulfilled: facilitator of educational opportunity, compliance officer, learner and disseminator of … Continue reading

High school students’ accuracy in estimating the cost of college: A proposed methodological approach and differences among racial/ethnic groups and college financial-related factors

High school students’ accuracy in estimating the cost of college (AECC) was examined by utilizing a new methodological approach, the absolute-deviation-continuous construct. This study used the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) data and examined 10,530 11th grade students in order to measure their AECC for 4-year public and private postsecondary institutions. The findings revealed that high school students tended to overestimate the cost of college, especially 4-year public in-state tuition. Second, this investigation explored AECC differences across racial/ethnic groups. Lastly, this research examined how AECC differed based on racial/ethnic and college financial-related factors (importance of cost on college … Continue reading

Incorporating undocumented/DACAmented status competency into higher education institutional agents’ practice

This article examines undocumented/DACAmented status competency centered on the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary for higher education institutional agents to support undocumented and DACAmented students. This study is part of a larger investigation that examined the factors that affected the extent to which 45 community college institutional agents implemented policies that affected undocumented/ DACAmented students in four states (California, Connecticut, Georgia, and Wisconsin). The purpose of this article is to provide a critical examination of higher education institutional agents’ awareness, knowledge, and skills related to addressing undocumented/ DACAmented students’ needs and to propose a form of practice—a concept we term … Continue reading

Undocumented students’ experiences with microaggressions during their college choice process

Despite years of research on microaggressions, relatively little is known about how undocumented students experience episodes of microaggressions during their college choice process. Microaggressions are cumulative discriminatory acts delivered to marginalized groups via verbal, nonverbal, and environmental insults (Sue, 2010; Sue et al., 2007). Guided by Sue and colleagues’ (2007) and Sue’s (2010) microaggressions research, we analyzed the experiences of 15 undocumented immigrants who graduated from public high schools in New York City, and we identified nine types of microaggressions they encountered during their college choice process. Additionally, we extended Sue’s (2010) research on microaggressions to include and explain how … Continue reading

Undocumented immigrants and higher education policy: The policymaking environment of New York State

This research presents findings of the policymaking environment in the area of postsecondary education benefits for undocumented immigrants in New York. It describes how New York behaved in response to ever-changing federal, state, and local actions in the area of postsecondary education benefits for undocumented students. Second, this investigation identifies five political forces (power of the governor, pressure of advocacy groups, role of Latino policymakers, legislators’ geographic affiliation, and legislators’ political party membership) that shaped the passage of New York’s in-state resident tuition policy. Lastly, it discusses the possible future of postsecondary education benefits for undocumented immigrants in New York. … Continue reading

Bridging the gap: Guiding the college search of undocumented students

Many immigrants come to the United States with the belief that their children will have expanded college opportunities compared to those available in their countries of birth. However, undocumented immigrants’ college enrollment figures do not mirror that belief. Nienhusser (2013) noted that more research is needed in the area of undocumented students’ college choice process in an effort to understand those factors that influence this population’s participation in higher education. This study examined the informational and emotional support provided by high school institutional agents in the college search stage of 15 undocumented immigrants in New York City. Such research can … Continue reading

Open college aid to undocumented students

This op-ed advocates for Connecticut to enact legislation that would grant state financial aid to undocumented students. Connecticut is one of only 18 states that grants in-state resident tuition to certain undocumented students. However, the state does not permit its undocumented students to receive state financial aid. This piece argues that Connecticut’s inaction has likely prevented many undocumented students from enrolling in or completing postsecondary education. Further, K-12 education is guaranteed to all students, including those that are undocumented. Thus, it is a moral imperative that Connecticut extend similar educational rights for undocumented students into higher education in the form … Continue reading

Role of community colleges in the implementation of postsecondary education enrollment policies for undocumented students

This article examines the case of how the City University of New York (CUNY)—its central administrative offices and two of its community colleges—has addressed the issue of college access for undocumented immigrants in its implementation of New York’s college in-state resident tuition (ISRT) policy for this population. It highlights the role of implementers—those individuals who make day-to-day decisions and whose responsibility it is to carry out mandates—and policy ambiguity in the execution of policies. A total of 19 individuals ranging from interest group representatives, local community-based organization officials, CUNY central administrative office officials, and staff from two community colleges were … Continue reading

Role of high schools in undocumented students’ college choice

In recent years, some states in the United States have enacted policies that grant some higher education benefits—primarily in-state resident tuition eligibility—to certain undocumented students. While in existence since 2001, little is known of the role of high school institutional agents in implementing such policies. This study describes the efforts of seven New York City high schools to educate their undocumented students about such educational benefits within their college choice process. It details five categories of activities that institutional agents developed to address undocumented students’ college choice needs. These college choice activities included: one-on-one counseling, presentations, outreach, scholarship, and curriculum. … Continue reading

Undocumented immigrants and state higher education policy: The politics of in-state tuition eligibility in Texas and Arizona

Every year about 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools. A major obstacle to their attending college is not being eligible for in-state tuition. Today, nine states permit it while four prohibit it. Even if the federal DREAM Act passes, state policy decisions will continue to strongly shape college opportunities for undocumented students. This situation makes the contrasting policies of Texas and Arizona—one permits in-state tuition eligibility; the other prohibits it—highly instructive. To analyze the political origins of their divergent responses, we draw on the advocacy coalition framework and policy entrepreneurship theory of policymaking. Dougherty, K., Nienhusser, H. K., … Continue reading