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The Journal of College Access has published a special issue, “College Access and Success for Undocumented Students.” This edition sought manuscript submissions that offered innovative perspectives and interventions in the context of college and career readiness and postsecondary access for undocumented students. This issue also seeks to increase awareness and deepen the understanding of sustainable frameworks that support the success of these students.

The goal for this issue is to provide a significant contribution to the fields of secondary education, sociology, higher education, counselor education, student services, and educational leadership. As such, the completed journal includes the work of researchers, counselor educators, practitioners, educational leaders, college access partners, and doctoral candidates. Selected papers for this issue represent an array of research-driven approaches, best practices, and policies at the district or college level. We hope service providers, educators, other advocates, and those interested in utilizing research to inform their policy work will gain further insight as they lead the efforts to create institutional and systemic change for undocumented students. We anticipate that this issue will further enhance the professional development of those directly working with undocumented students.

As we reflect on the diverse contributions of the authors and the stories shared by undocumented students, their families, allies, and practitioners, we are calling for further research and policy inquiry. Many authors are from states and institutions with policies that are unfriendly to undocumented students, and further research and legislation must be created to improve the educational trajectories for these students across the United States. Additionally, in many states, undocumented students attend community colleges at higher rates than 4-year universities. Therefore, it is imperative that further research on the pathways to and through community college —including non-credit courses, technical education (also known as vocational), and general education or transfer pathways — is completed. We hope this issue will lead to new research and also create change at local levels and beyond.

We continue to be grateful for the scholars and practitioners who continue to advocate for the social and racial equity of undocumented students. We especially thank the many undocumented students and their loved ones who continue to engage in their educational dreams, and the educators who support them on this journey.

The first five articles in this issue feature the experiences of undocumented students and their loved ones.

Hyein Lee draws from TheDream.US’s latest survey data of 2,681 undocumented students surveyed during the COVID-19 pandemic to identify their specific needs for college completion and career readiness, as well as institutional supports needed for equitable access to social mobility.

Carolina Valdivia, Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, Lucas Schacht, Juan Duran, and Sussana Mendoza, members of the UndocuResearch Project, discuss how the political terrain has impacted undocumented high school students and share key recommendations for educators and counselors.

Stephany Cuevas, through the ecological systems theory, highlights the significant impact the political climate in the United States has on undocumented Latinx parents’ engagement in their children’s education.

Brianna R. Ramirez describes five particular ways in which racist nativism underlies undocumented Latinx college access experiences.

Rachel E. Freeman and Carolina Valdivia focus on undocumented graduate students, specifically the imperative for colleges and universities to build equitable programs at the graduate and professional degree levels. The authors share what they learned working with My Undocumented Life and their facilitation of dozens of UndocuGrads Workshops.

The last seven articles highlight effective interventions and approaches for impactful advocacy.

Katherine Bernal-Arevalo, Sergio Pereyra, Dominiqua M. Griffin, and Gitima Sharma share school counselors’ perspectives on the experiences of undocumented student and highlight how school counselors can implement programs and remove barriers that make college inaccessible for undocumented students.

Keisha Chin Goobsy addresses the need for mentoring undocumented students using the cultural wealth mentoring model and other impactful strategies.

Nicholas Tapia-Fuselier examines the ways in which undocumented student resource centers support undocumented students and contribute to institutional efforts to enhance “undocu-competence.”

Patty Witkowsky, Jennifer Alanis, and Nicholas Tapia-Fuselier discuss how intentionally engaging undocumented students and equipping faculty and staff creates an “undocu-competent” culture that promotes and sustains student success.

Rachel E. Freeman, Daniela Iniestra Varelas, and Daniel Castillo showcase university presidents featured in the film “College Presidents with Undocumented Students” to demonstrate their leadership in building equity with undocumented students.

John A. Vasquez, Alejandra Acosta, Rosario Torres, and Melissa Hernandez describe how a group of undergraduate and graduate University of Michigan student researchers, both documented and undocumented, developed an instrument and website to analyze institutional policies related to in-state resident tuition, admission, and financial aid in the state of Michigan.

Iliana Perez, Nancy Jodaitis, and Victor Garcia from Immigrants Rising highlight lessons and best practices from the California Campus Catalyst Fund, support programs for undocumented students at 32 campuses within the public higher education segments in California.


Diana Camilo and Marisol Clark‐Ibáñez served as guest editors for the latest issue of the Journal of College Access.