UCLA Labor Center

Resource Accessibility Across the University of California Campuses Through Undocumented Students’ Experiences

2022 / Avalos Padilla, Alondra, Erika Mey, Ana Sandoval Contreras

Resource Accessibility Across the University of California Campuses through Undocumented Students’ Experiences is an evaluation report that sheds light on the challenges undocumented students experience when attempting to access resources at University of California (UC) campuses. The report—published by UC students in partnership with the UCLA Dream Resource Center, UCLA Labor Center, and the Undocumented Student-led Network—finds disparities in resources for undocumented students across UC campuses.

According to the evaluation report, despite attending different UC campuses, undocumented student experiences and sentiments on resource accessibility are universal. Students from different UC campuses expressed challenges and barriers to accessing resources due to social stigma, internalized guilt, inadequate outreach efforts, lack of funding, and the location of undocumented student centers on campuses.

To alleviate the challenges and disparities undocumented students face, report authors recommend:

  1. Supporting undocumented students in the UC system by providing sufficient funds for undocumented student resources.
  2. Allowing undocumented individuals to actively partake in the creation of resources for undocumented students.
  3. Holding universities accountable for increasing outreach efforts to support undocumented students.
  4. Providing professional development opportunities such as internships and fellowships specifically for undocumented students that are paid.

While many studies and publications on undocumented college student experiences are conducted and written by faculty, established professionals and researchers, this report was primarily authored by undocumented students to ensure that the voices of undocumented students were centered in report findings and recommendations.

A participatory focus group approach that asked undocumented undergraduate and graduate students to share their experiences was used for the report. The evaluation report is based on 2 rounds of focus groups and 23 participants, as well as campus resources, online UC open sources, and published information on the UC system. The report is meant to serve as a resource guide for students, faculty, and staff, and simultaneously provide feasible solutions to the current disparities in resources for undocumented students.

Background Information:

The report was launched as a project for the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s 2021 Dream Summer fellows. Dream Summer is an annual summer fellowship that empowers immigrant youth and allies to be the next generation of social justice leaders through leadership and professional development, intersectional movement building, and on-the-ground experience in social justice organizations. The fellowship is a national fellowship open to all immigrant youth, regardless of immigration status. The report authors are graduates of the 2021 Dream Summer fellowship cohort. Learn more about Dream Summer here.