In America today, equal rights to flourish in society and to reach full human potential are not applied to undocumented students seeking post-secondary education. Under the principles of social justice of the Jesuit tradition, Fairfield University, Santa Clara University and Loyola University Chicago have partnered and received a grant from the Ford Foundation to explore practices and attitudes regarding undocumented students at Jesuit universities. Also, seeking to better understand challenges and obstacles faced by undocumented students is an important component to this research. The project has several short-term and long-term goals.
(1) To provide presidential leadership in high education regarding undocumented students;
(2) To initiate and sustain dialogue with the 28 North American Jesuit Colleges and Universities around the topic of undocumented students with a special focus on 6 schools;
(3) To design and implement a mixed-methods research study to understand the legal contexts, attitudes, and current practices, issues and challenges for AJCU institutions in serving students who are undocumented;
(4) To develop and disseminate a white paper that provides a moral argument for serving students who are undocumented and highlights the results of the research study.
Long-term goals of the project:
(1) Explore the creation of a common fund to support financial aid for undocumented students;
(2) Catalog and collect resources and information related to undocumented students and U.S. higher education.
Progress towards achieving this project’s objectives in the short-term and long-term will be based on the commitment, level of participation, and level of engagement from the Jesuit universities in the United States. The quantity and quality of the data collected by this project will shed light on the state of affairs and highlight whether there is a mismatch between Jesuit rhetoric and actual practices. Sharing of information and practices among institutions and within the Jesuit network will help determine the scope of need, and the state of provisions for undocumented students in higher education.
Santa Clara University, Laura Nichols, Sociology
Fairfield University, Center for Faith & Public Life
Loyola University, Center for Urban Research & Learning