Pushing The Dream advocating for daca immigrants in higher education


This project is a St. Louis Community College based effort. It is designed to bring national awareness and response to DACA immigrants facing the hard choice of letting their future in academics go to waste, or aspire to their highest academic potential. The ultimate goal is to mobilize an effective committee focused on assisting DACA immigrants seeking or currently in two-year colleges nationwide.

The Problem
Even after the hard work, the countless nights staying up and writing, reading, studying, and multiplying, I find the doors of higher education closed to me because I don’t have residency status and am not eligible for federal aid.

DACA recipients are facing the choice of going to college or working labor jobs for the rest of their lives. The lack of financial assistance, inadequate counseling, and insufficient knowledge of their environment are some of the major obstacles that are preventing these students from getting and completing their education. This project is designed to raise awareness of these struggles facing DACA immigrant students on college campuses nationwide, and bring forth a committee focused solely on assisting immigrant students who are legal or undocumented.


History of The DREAM & DACA

DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors. The goals of this act were to give undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before the age of sixteen the chance to become permanent residence. The leading requirement for permanent residency is:

  • completion of either a minimum of 2 years at community college, or serve in the military for 2 years (or honorably discharged from the military)

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides undocumented immigrants can receive a work permit. Similarly to the DREAM Act, to be eligible for the program one must have arrived in the States before their sixteenth birthday. Although DACA has more firm requirements than DREAM.

  • must currently be in school, a high school graduate, or honorably discharged from the military
  • Not convicted of any felonies, or significant misdemeanors
  • does not grant lawful status, or the opportunity to become a citizen
  • does not provide eligibility for federal welfare or financial aid of any kind.

DACA allows young immigrants protection from deportation, only if they meet the criteria listed above, and can then apply for “conditional residency” as well as the ability to work legally in the United States.

Goals & Objectives
The number one objective of this project is to increase the overall admission, retention, and graduation rates of DACA immigrants nationwide.


  • Increase overall college retention and graduation rates
  • Implementing sufficient financial aid workshops
  • Implementing Socio-cultural workshops
  • Provide a learning environment that nurtures the academic growth and talents of DACA students


To respond to the needs of DACA immigrants in higher education, forming a committee that would exist on community college campuses nationwide would be the first move to success. The Committee would look like this:

  • A friendly, open, and diverse environment made up of staff and students
  • Forming surveys and workshops that respond to the needs of DACA students
  • Constructive learning trips designed to increase cultural awareness
  • Consistently active in the campus environment
  • Workshops designed to assistant in financial aid or options present/available

Why a Committee?

A committee on campuses nationwide is the first choice in aiding DACA immigrant students because it has the highest potential to make the students thrive in their learning environment. The committee is meant to feel more like a family where the students feel as though they can trust each other and the staff that is guiding them.


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