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Thinking and Acting Outside the Box: EOP at the Center of Campus Collaboratives to Empower and Support the Success of Undocumented Students. Mery C. Hernandez , EOP Outreach and Admissions Counselor Koji M. Uesugi , Interim Executive Director Student Support & Equity Programs

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Mery C. Hernandez , EOP Outreach and Admissions Counselor

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Thinking and Acting Outside the Box: EOP at the Center of Campus Collaboratives to Empower and Support the Success of Undocumented Students

Mery C. Hernandez, EOP Outreach and Admissions Counselor

Koji M. Uesugi, Interim Executive Director

Student Support & Equity Programs

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

EOP 40th Anniversary Conference, March 9, 2009


The objectives of this session are to:

  • Discuss the various challenges that undocumented students on our college campus face
  • Present the critical role that EOP can play to meet the specific needs of undocumented students
  • Discuss possible strategies that other campuses can develop and implement to support these students
learning outcome
Learning Outcome
  • At the end of the session attendees will be able to identify specific strategies and campus wide protocols that can be replicated and enhanced at their institutions to meet the specific needs of undocumented students.
the context
The Context
  • Every year over 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high schools around the country and overcome immense challenges to matriculate, finance, and succeed in institutions of higher education.
  • “Some students will attend a four-year institution, others will find their way to community college.”
  • Of those who go onto four-year institutions, many are choosing CSU campuses
  • However, attending college comes at a high price
assembly bill 540
Assembly Bill 540
  • This bill would require that a person, other than a nonimmigrant alien as defined, who has attended high school in California for 3 or more years, who has graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof, who has registered at or attends an accredited institution of higher education in California no earlier that the fall semester or quarter of the 2001-02 academic year, and who, if he of she is an alien without lawful immigration status, has filed an affidavit as specified, be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges and California State University.


ab 540 eligibility requirements sec 2 section 68130 5 is added to the educational code
AB 540 Eligibility RequirementsSec. 2. Section 68130.5 is added to the Educational Code

High school attendance in California for three or more years.

  • Graduation from a California High School or attainment of the equivalent thereof.
  • Registration as an entering student at, or current enrollment at, an accredited institution of higher education in California not earlier than the fall semester or quarter of the 2001-02 academic year.
  • In case the of a person without lawful immigration status, the filing of an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that the student has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to so.*

*Student information obtained in the implementation of this section is confidential.


money is not the only challenge
Money is not the only challenge…
  • In-state fees helps reduce the financial burden, but undocumented students are not eligible for financial aid
  • There are many other challenges that they must endure once they enroll in college
student 1
Student #1
  • An incoming freshman student attends orientation and stands in line to take a picture for an Identification card.
  • At the Admission’s front counter, the student is told that IDs for new students are taken care of by Orientation Services and the student is sent back to Orientation to figure out his problem.
student 2
Student #2
  • A student eligible for graduation prepares a Graduation Check form and brings her student ID along with the form to the Registrar’s Office.
  • When the student informs the staff member about not owning a SSN, the staff member responds in disbelief with comments that the student felt were disparaging remarks about individuals without SSN’s and that reflected the staff members personal views.
student email 1
Student Email #1

Hello my name is ____.

I am currently a second year architecture student.

I am AB450 and I need to find information on internships.

I'm really afraid I'm not going to be able to graduate since I need to do a 500 hrs internship with a registered Architect.

I would like to know if you guys can help me with any kind of information.

I would really appreciate it.

Thank you very much for your time.

student email 2
Student Email #2

 My name is ________and I'm an AB540 senior engineering student.  I will be graduating this quarter and I was wondering if you could help me answer a few questions.  I was recently contacted by an engineering company who wanted to interview me for a summer internship, but since I am an undocumented student and I'm not legally allowed to work in the US they told me to go talk to the international students office to see if there were any forms I could fill out that would allow me to work in the internship.  I looked up the international students office website and it didn't seem that they would be of much help, so I figured you would be a better person to ask.  My main question is if there is anything I could do or fill out that would allow me to take this internship.  Another questions I have is what are my possibilities after graduating of getting a job as an engineer given the fact that I am undocumented, I have heard of people getting jobs after filling out an H form but I don't know if would qualify for that.  Please let me know what I could possibly do if anything.

Thank you

barriers then and now
Barriers Then and Now
  • Many undocumented students face many of the same issues that underrepresented, first generation, low-income students faced over 40 years ago in higher education
    • Barriers to college admissions
    • Socioeconomic challenges
    • Difficulty integrating to the campus community
    • Lack of college support services to meet their needs
    • Hostile, unsympathetic environment
  • Undocumented students face many of the same barriers EOP students in general face today
ssep s support
SSEP’s Support
  • Student Support & Equity Programs (SSEP)
    • Home for EOP, Renaissance Scholars, and all university Undeclared students
    • 20 professional staff and 30 student staff provide various levels of support
  • SSEP’s commitment to support the unique needs of undocumented students
    • Formally incorporated AB 540 campus liaison responsibilities to role of EOP Outreach and Admissions Counselor’s (Mery)
    • Provides a safe and inviting environment for students
inspiration and opportunity
Inspiration and Opportunity
  • EOP’s philosophy of serving underserved populations served as a catalyst to create opportunities to support undocumented students
  • Inspired to understand and advocate for undocumented students’ issues and needs
    • Gathered scholarship resources to help support their financial needs
    • Attended AB540 informational and outreach event
    • Organized AB540 informational event at CPP
    • Led to development of student organization at CPP
ab 540 campus liaison
AB 540 Campus Liaison
  • Serve as the university's official liaison for undocumented AB 540 students (designated and appointed by campus President)
  • Meet regularly with high level administrators
  • Serve on appropriate committees and in various organizations, representing the needs and interests of undocumented AB 540 students
ab 540 campus liaison1
AB 540 Campus Liaison
  • Meet and/or confer with various offices throughout the campus and serve as intermediary between key departments
    • Office Admissions & Outreach
    • Visitor Center
    • Orientation Services
    • Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships
    • Registrars Office
    • Cashier’s Office
    • Dean of Students & Judicial Affairs Office
    • Office of Student Life & Cultural Centers
ab 540 campus liaison2
AB 540 Campus Liaison
  • Organize and coordinate special events, workshops, and services related to AB 540 issues both on and off-campus
  • Attend meetings, conferences and professional development activities to keep abreast of new developments related to this law
  • Advise undocumented AB 540 student organization
    • Student Demand for Equity in Education (SDEE)
    • Student Annual Fundraisers
  • Identify and refer to campus resources and opportunities
    • Campus Volunteering
    • Unpaid Internships
    • Cal Poly Credit Union
cal poly pomona s commitment
Cal Poly Pomona’s Commitment
  • University President’s Support
    • Meets regularly with student organization
  • Student Affair’s Cabinet Support
    • Student Affairs Professional Development
    • Enrollment Services Workshops
    • AB 540 Liaison Support
  • Dean of Students’ Office
    • Partnership
campus collaborations
Campus Collaborations
  • Academic Colleges Collaboration
    • Anthropology Department
    • Liberal Studies Department
    • Ethnic & Women’s Studies Department
    • Political Science Department
  • Student Affairs Collaboration
    • Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers
    • Asian & Pacific Islander Student Center
    • Native American Student Center
    • Enrollment Services Collaboration
cal poly pomona navigational resources
Cal Poly Pomona Navigational Resources
  • AB 540 Information & Resources website
  • Comprehensive Resource Guide (March 2009)
cpp financial resources
CPP Financial Resources
  • Dream Scholarship (November)
  • President’s Council Scholarship (February)
  • Hilda L. Solis Scholarship (February)
  • SDEE Scholarship (September)
  • Latino Faculty Staff Student Association (May)
  • Universal Woman Scholarship, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. at CPP (April)
  • Paula Sandoval Memorial Scholarship, Graduate Studies (April)
positive impacts of efforts
Positive Impacts of Efforts
  • Advising assistance for academic support and personal development
  • Creating awareness on campus community
    • Moving towards a more informed and sensitive campus
    • Support by campus clubs and organizations to support undocumented students
  • Informing students of available campus resources
    • Campus scholarships available to undocumented students
    • Internship opportunities
thank you
Thank You!

Questions & Reference List Discussion

Email Addresses

  • Mery C. Hernandez –
  • Koji M. Uesugi –