About 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year and only 5-10% of these undocumented students continue their higher education. Data suggests that to succeed, undocumented young people need factual information about how they can access and finance a college education as well as connection to a broader community. The problem is three pronged: (1) policy -- undocumented students are literally living in limbo (2) capacity /awareness - while 90% of the American public support young undocumented students, there is little in schools or communities to support their aspirations; and (3) information - undocumented students aren't aware of resources that are actually available to support them, in some states, at some colleges, and through a handful of nonprofits.
We decided we needed to do more for undocumented students. We know through interactions with students and counselors on text, in person and via e-mail that we have thousands of undocumented students in our community and that many do not realize they are undocumented until they are in high school. Many of them have live in a cloak of fear, not sure who they can talk to or what questions to ask.
In order to achieve our goals we developed the following core strategies:
In turn, by shedding a spotlight on both the incredible potential of undocumented young people and raising awareness of the barriers they face in accessing additional education, we can build momentum to change state and federal policy. Since the start of our campaign in February, one more state (Connecticut) has put in place a policy to allow undocumented students the opportunity to access state-based higher education grants and another (Washington) has expanded the grants available to undocumented students.
Though this campaign we have thus far meaningfully engaged 25K students (on our digital platform or via text), our twitter chat had a potential reach of 20M, an Instagram campaign that engaged college students in getting the word out engaged 500 fraternities and sororities. And our media reach (including articles in Rolling Stone, Billboard and op-ed co-authored by French Montana and Get Schooled's Executive Director) stands at 350M potential impressions.