Universities across the country pledged support on April 7, 2015 to undocumented youth and their right to education for National Institutions Coming Out Day (NICD). In a statement from the Office of the President, UW made a promise, “ a promise to our state and the next generation to do all that we can to make the world a better place.” The university’s commitment to access, equal opportunity and social justice encourages the development of support services for the unique journey for undocumented students in higher education. They also focus on training educators to help those students navigate the path to success.
In 2012, 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the United States, with roughly 52 percent coming from Mexico. While those numbers have leveled off in the last 3 years, the issue of undocumented student access to higher education has remained an issue.
In 2014, Governor Jay Inslee signed the REAL Hope Act into law, which the UW Office of the President says, made “Washington one of only five states that allow undocumented students to qualify for both in-state tuition and state financial aid, enhancing a 2003 law allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.”
In partnership with United We Dream (the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation) and its DREAM Educational Empowerment Program (DEEP), NCID is helping to raise awareness, and in its pledge for support UW is helping to overcome the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth.
With only 7,000-13,000 immigrant students enrolled in college in 2012, advocates for higher education are pushing for tuition equity and opportunity. The state of Washington and UW are working to take steps to help mitigate what UW’s Office of the President calls one of the “world’s greatest challenges.”