Undocumented Latina/o Students' Struggle and Academic Resiliency in Higher Education

Geraldine Gomez : Social Welfare, Education (minor)

Mentor: Professors Irene Bloemraad and Lisa García Bedolla

An estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate from the nation’s high schools each year, and only 5-10% of those continue on to a two/four-year college or university (Passel, 2003 & Passel and Cohn, 2009). Their obstacles, beyond lack of federal financial aid, contribute to psychological stress and limited opportunities in higher education. Geraldine will augment the scarce research on AB540 students’ agency and resiliency by interviewing undocumented Latina/o UC Berkeley students and alumni, undocumented youth who either work or dropped out of college, faculty, administrators, and members of student organizations. She will examine the factors driving undocumented students during a time of economic downturn and strong anti-immigrant sentiment. Her research will provide a blueprint assessing undocumented students’ futures, ultimately laying the framework for effective educational and social policy solutions.