New Organizing Project blogger
Sixty. Five. Thousand. 65,000. This number is one that is dear to me. Because every year, 65,000 undocumented students in America graduate from high school. Some are privileged enough to attend college, but many are not.
Among the privileged are the graduates from California who are able to attend school and pay in-state tuition under the AB540 law. The law applies to undocumented students who have attended a California high school for three or more years, have graduated or attained an equivalent degree, and are currently enrolled or registered as an entering student at an accredited institution of higher education in California. Tuition is still hard to afford, but without such a law, it would be unimaginable for undocumented students like myself to attend college.
Every year in the month of November, I am reminded of the college application process I had to undergo, and the myriad feelings around it all. Before knowing about AB540, I was feeling hopeless and lost. Even after finding out about AB540, I was hopeful but at the same time very confused about the application process.
My hope and strength was renewed by the help I received from the Korean Resource Center and their guidance allowed me to complete all the paperwork well and to be able to attend UCLA. Without that guidance, I would not have been able to be where I stand today.
The support I received from KRC was like a key that opened the locked doors to the next chapter of my life. Because of the support that I received to attain access to higher education, I have a heart to reach out to the too many more students who are going through the same struggles in applying to college. Through KRC, I was able to meet fellow Dreamers braving similarly challenges that I do. It was such a relief to know that I am not alone and the support that we provided alongside each other empowered me to reach out to my community.
With that encouragement, the Dreamer students of AKASIA (Alliance of Korean American Students in Action), including me, have decided to take it upon ourselves to educate and assist undocumented students on AB540. With the belief that access to higher education is a fundamental human right that should not be denied to anyone regardless of their status, and the know-how to make a meaningful difference in the lives of undocumented students, we hope to help them to be able to dream and then pursue their dreams. Access to higher education is a first step toward that dream and we are already actively making that step a reality for students.
It is college application season and if you or someone you know could use our help, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-937-3718.