Why We Care
New Haven REACH is committed to working with all students from New Haven, regardless of documentation status. We believe that no child should be denied education because they were brought to America without papers as a child. Jordy Padilla, one of our founders, came to the United States from Ecuador at the age of nine and lacks legal documentation. New Haven has a large immigrant community, and many of those immigrants are undocumented.
I'm undocumented. Can I still work with REACH?
YES! All New Haven students are welcome to work with REACH. If you are undocumented, you should sign up for our program here. We do not ask students for documentation status. If you ask us (you have to ask us! We will never ask you about your documentation status), we will also refer you to our partner organizations:
- CT Students for a DREAM advocates for undocumented rights and provides college counseling to undocumented students. We will pair you with one of our college mentors and a CT Students for a DREAM mentor who is an expert in applying to college as an undocumented student.
- FAIR College Counseling hosts some events and provides some translation services for Spanish speakers. If you want to have documents translated for your parents, or if you would like to learn about their events, let us know or contact them directly.
An Undocumented Student's College FAQ
Undocumented students face many challenges in this country, one of which is attending an institution of higher learning. Because the college application process requires so much personal information, undocumented students face challenges that other students don't. In general, the four biggest questions that undocumented students have are:
- Can I apply to college?
- How do I pay for college?
- Should I lie in the application process?
- Who do I ask for help?
Can I apply to colleges?
Anyone can apply to college, even those without proper documentation. When you apply to college, however, you should keep in mind the differences between public and private schools. Public universities, at least in Connecticut, are required to accept students based only on academic qualifications. Private institutions have more freedom to choose who they want. Some may be more inclined to accept undocumented students than others. However, you have the right to apply to college even if you are undocumented.
How do I pay for college?
This is by far the toughest question for undocumented students. Undocumented students cannot apply to FAFSA. However, undocumented students are eligible for some Private Scholarships, and many organizations have put together lists of scholarships that undocumented students are eligible for. Contact Us if you would like this information. Undocumented students may also be eligible for institutional aid directly from a college they are admitted to, and if they attend a public university in Connecticut, they will be able to pay in-state tuition ($8-10K), just like other students in Connecticut. The last source of funding for New Haven students is New Haven Promise. New Haven Promise was designed to be accessible to all New Haven students, whether they are citizens, legal immigrants, or undocumented students, as long as they meet the academic qualifications.
Should I lie about my status?
NEVER LIE. That’s the number one rule every undocumented student should remember. Always tell the truth and if you have to, leave it blank or refuse to answer yes or no. Not telling the truth hurts the applicant more than anything. Even if the reason for not telling the truth is rational, there are serious consequences for lying to colleges.
Who can I ask for help?
The first person that you should ask is your teacher, coach, counselor, vice-principal, principal, or any educator that you believe has the power to help you. I know it is hard to come out, but in order to succeed as an undocumented students you have to take risks. There are also a number of organizations that want to help undocumented students. Our friends at Connecticut Students for a Dream are always willing to help any student that have questions. Their website is: http://www.ct4adream.org/
If you have any questions left unanswered, please contact us at info@NewHavenREACH.com. We are committed to helping all students regardless of their documentation status.