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.

COURTESY OF UNITED WE DREAM

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.”

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