The California Community College’s mission and vision is to put students first. Following this mission, the CCCs are committed to supporting all students regardless of immigration status. Approximately 50,000-70,000 undocumented students are enrolling in the CCC System. Over the years, our system has worked collectively with faculty, staff and administrators to provide guidance and support to undocumented students.
The CCC Dreamers Project Report was launched in 2018 in collaboration with FoundationCCC, the CCC Chancellor’s Office, and Immigrants Rising. The report was originally developed to respond to the possibility that many of these students would lose the protections provided by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which has become politically vulnerable in recent years. The report was immediately refocused to include all undocumented students, not just DACA students, prior to the implementation of the statewide survey and subsequent meetings.
The CCC Dreamers Project Report found that “undocumented students face multiple system barriers beyond the threat of losing DACA protections,” and identified several other opportunities within the institution to better serve this at-risk population, including highlighting promising practices led by colleges.
In conclusion, the report identified six challenges facing the California Community Colleges:
- Inadequate ability to outreach to undocumented students and protect student data
- Insufficient institutional support/ campus-wide training
- Need for dedicated stakeholders, staff, and space at each campus
- Need for better access to financial support
- Need for increased student engagement and direct services to increase student retention
- Need for definitive guidance from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office
In response to the last challenge, in September 2020 the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges announced the launch of the Undocumented Student Support Project (USSP) with philanthropic contributions from The James Irvine Foundation. The project aims to provide system-wide guidance, tools, and resources for colleges to adopt innovative student-focused solutions that support undocumented student success, including the implementation of legislation like Assembly Bill 1645, which requires each California Community College to identify an UndocuLiaison (Dreamer Resource Liaison).
The USSP project began with a landscape analysis to evaluate the changes in the system since the CCC Dreamers Project Report in 2018. This effort helped identify and improve the systemic gaps that inhibit undocumented students from successfully completing their educational journey. Additionally, the survey asked colleges to confirm their representatives for the UndocuLiaison Network, which grew from 127 representatives in June 2020 to 317 in April 2021. We currently have 342 representatives as of December 2021. Survey results Appendix B