OACAC Annual Conference Community Service: I Know I Can

The Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee was excited to collaborate with I Know I Can, a college access organization serving the Columbus, OH city school district, to raise donations during OACAC’s Annual Conference (April 10-11).

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I Know I Can (IKIC) was founded in 1988 as a result of the foresight, dedication, and generosity of community and civic leaders who believed that no child should be denied a college education simply because they could not afford it.  I Know I Can is the only college access program in Columbus and one of the largest and most successful in the nation. Since its beginning, I Know I Can has made higher education a reality for tens of thousands of Columbus City Schools students who dreamed of a college education and worked hard to get it. Today, IKIC provides the materials, financial support, mentoring and advising services needed to help students overcome barriers and achieve their higher education dreams with particular emphasis on middle school and high school students as well as current college students.  For the past 27 years, IKIC has not only helped parents and students navigate the college-going process; it has also awarded more than 25,000 grants and scholarships, with a total investment of more than $26 million in the higher education of CCS’s college-bound students.

With the support from conference attendees we were able to collect 4 full bins of items including notepads, pens/pencils, cups, college logo wear, and other items.

We can definitely say that they want to offer a big Thank You to everyone at the OACAC Annual Conference who made donations to the students at I Know I Can!

 

Preferred Pronouns

Cultural competence is paramount in the admissions and recruitment process. It is even more imperative to continue this competency throughout the enrollment process and campus placement. Continual education and diversity training are key components in working with students and their families.

Many colleges and universities are making strides in becoming even more sensitive and inclusive of diverse students. Asking for a students preferred pronoun, having unisex bathrooms on campus, and providing LGBTQQA* Living-Learning Communities are just a few of the examples of fostering a community of inclusion and diversity on college campuses. Education professionals can also embrace inclusivity in daily interactions with students, faculty, and staff by using preferred pronouns.

What exactly are preferred pronouns?

A “preferred gender pronoun” (or PGP) is the pronoun that a person chooses to use for themself.

For example: If Xena’s preferred pronouns are she, her, and hers, you could say “Xena ate her food because she was hungry.”

 There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use.

Here are a few you might hear:

They, them, theirs (Xena ate their food because they were hungry.) This is a pretty common gender-neutral pronoun. It can in fact be used in the singular.

Ze, hir (Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry.)
Ze is pronounced like “zee” can also be spelled zie or xe, and replaces she/he/they.
Hir is pronounced like “here” and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.

Why is it important to respect people’s PGPs?

You can’t always know what someone’s PGP is by looking at them.

Asking and correctly using someone’s preferred pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity* (Gender Identity-One’s innermost concept of self as male or female or both or neither—how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth.)

When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all of the above.)

It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else’s gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.

It is imperative for higher education professionals to recognize and respect the diversity of students we are recruiting; this could mean the difference between a student feeling safe, included, and respected at your institution. We are a representation of the institution we work with and first impressions are lasting.

Useful resources:
http://forge-forward.org/
http://www.transstudent.org/graphics
http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2015/03/the-genderbread-person-v3/
https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/

 References:
Understanding Gender. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/understanding-gender/

Mateo Medina. (2011). Hampshire College Orientation Training-Materials [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved April 1, 2016.

Courtney Johnson-Benson, M.A.Ed.
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment
The University of Akron
caj4@uakron.edu

DEADLINE APPROACHING: Charles L. Warren Memorial Heritage Scholarship

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN….

The Charles L. Warren Memorial Heritage Scholarship deadline for high school seniors is this Friday, February 12, 2016! Click this link for the application http://oacac.org/student-scholarships/. Please remember that high schools counselors must be OACAC members* for their students to be considered for the scholarship! Click here to become a member http://oacac.org/become-member/. Please contact Nancy Gibson at gibsonn@denison.edu if you have any questions.

*Just one counselor in your high school needs to be an OACAC member to qualify.

FAQ Sheet: Financial Aid and Undocumented Students

Have questions about how financial aid and eligibility for undocumented or DACA students? The U.S. Department of Education has drafted a very informative and concise document that answers many frequently asked questions regarding general information about these students, eligibility for financial aid, and how to complete the FAFSA: financial-aid-and-undocumented-students.

Financial aid can be a vexing process for students of all backgrounds and to best serve all populations, admissions officers should ensure that they know the appropriate resources for their students. Please be aware of your institution’s policies regarding undocumented, Dreamers, and DACA students even if you do not consistently work closely with these populations. For some additional insight into the different immigration terms and categories, we have an informal guide that may assist you with discerning the different populations you may interact with: https://oacacinclusion.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/immigration-insight/.

Immigration Insight

U.S. citizen, U.S. national, foreign national, eligible noncitizen … Have you heard or seen these terms, but perhaps are confused about what they truly mean and the distinct differences between them? Highly complex and controversial, immigration continues to be a major area of focus in our country. Regardless of our respective personal opinions on the matter, as education professionals it is critical that we remain abreast of immigration-related issues and policies as we endeavor to foster inclusion, access, and success for all students in our daily work.

There are a host of citizenship, immigrant, and non-immigrant statuses and categories in the United States and each one has a unique set of characteristics and conditions that affect eligibility for financial aid, employment, and other numerous aspects of life. There are also countless related terms that are important to know.

While I am not an international education professional or immigration law expert, as a bilingual Enrollment Advisor who serves a wealth of students who fall into various immigrant categories, I have become a de facto resource for students and colleagues on our campus and in the greater community. Here is a very basic look at a few terms that you may encounter frequently in your work with students.

*Please note that this post should be used as an informal guide and is in no way meant to be an in-depth, comprehensive assertion on immigration law, nor is it intended to provide conclusive answers regarding immigration law or rights. Please consult with a legal professional for the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Click each term for more details…

CitizenA legally recognized subject or national of the United States (the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianna Islands), either by birth or by naturalization.

Immigrant – A person who comes to the United States to reside permanently, whether lawfully or without inspection or valid legally authorized clearance.

Nonimmigrant – A person with permanent residence outside the United States who enters the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose.

Naturalized citizen – A foreign citizen or national who has been granted U.S. citizenship after voluntarily undergoing the naturalization process and fulfilling the requirements established by the U.S. Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Lawful permanent resident – A person who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis through one of several different ways. This person is not a citizen of the United States, but resides in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Permanent residents are also known as “permanent resident aliens,” “resident alien permit holders,” and “green card holders.”

Refugee – A person who has fled his or her country of origin because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applicants file for inclusion in the U.S. refugee program from outside of the United States and must be approved prior to entry. Refugees are required by law to apply for permanent residency one year after being admitted to the United States.

Asylee – A person who has been granted asylum status who has fled his or her country of origin because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applicants are already in the United States or are seeking admission at a port of entry and may apply regardless of country of origin or current immigration status. These individuals have the option to apply for permanent residency one year after being granted asylum, but they are not required to do so.

Foreign national – A person who legally resides in a specific country, but is not a citizen of that country. Permanent residents, refugees, and asylees are all types of foreign nationals in the United States.

U.S. national – All U.S. citizens are considered to be U.S. nationals, but not all nationals are U.S. citizens. In many contexts related to education, employment, and federal aid, a U.S. national specifically refers to a person who is a native of American Samoa or Swain’s Island, which are both outlying possessions of the United States. These U.S. nationals are not U.S. citizens.

Eligible noncitizen – A term used by the U.S. Department of Education for federal student aid purposes. Includes U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and conditional permanent residents (with an I-551, I-151, or I-551C), and eligible individuals with an I-94 who have one of the following designations: refugee, asylee, Cuban-Haitian entrant, conditional entrant, victim of human trafficking (T visa holder), and parolee.

Non-immigrant temporary visas – A visa issued to people with a permanent residence outside the United States who seek temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. This includes certain tourists or visitors for business (B), students (F, M), exchange visitors (J), victims of human trafficking (T), victims of criminal activity (U), certain classes of temporary workers, and a variety of specialized categories, among others.

  • Some non-immigrant statuses have rigid time limits for the person’s stay in the United States, while others do not.
  • People with some non-immigrant statuses are allowed to be employed in the United States, and others are not.
  • With the exception of T visa holders, non-immigrant temporary visa holders are not eligible to receive federal student aid, though they may be able to receive other financial aid from their respective state or college.

I-94 – The Arrival-Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States.

Permanent resident card – An identification card (USCIS Form I-551) attesting to the permanent resident status of a person in the United States. Commonly referred to as a green card. Formerly called an alien registration card or alien registration receipt card (INS Form I-151).

Useful resources:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: www.uscis.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol: www.cbp.gov

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov

Federal Student Aid: http://studentaid.ed.gov

 

Shola Odumade, M.B.A.
Enrollment Advisor
Sinclair Community College
shola.odumade@sinclair.edu

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); Opportunity to the Unauthorized Immigrant

It was in 1994 that I immigrated to “El Norte” (The North).

This is what many Latin American individuals call this great land of opportunity. The choice was not made by me, the choice was made by my father that saw an opportunity for growth. Coming to a strange land meant leaving my identity (home). Oftentimes, people leave their children, your life as a farmer, and the most fearful part about this migration is that you have no idea what lays ahead. I remember running and crawling through fields of Arizona and swimming rivers of Guatemala and Mexico. Running at night and sleeping by day.

According to the Boston Globe more than 6,000 people have died trying to cross the Mexico-United States border since 1998. Young children, women, and young men have died trying to cross the border. At times women and children are involved in rape and human trafficking, as well as mules for drugs, but that’s another story. However, there are many that have made it to begin a new life in the U.S.A. As the years pass, many individuals like myself live in shadows and not  exposed to a normal life in the United States because they are afraid of deportation.

According to PEW Research Center about 65,000 Unauthorized children graduate from high schools all over the United States. Some of these students do not know that they are Undocumented or Unauthorized individuals in the States, until a parent decides to share that information with them. Now a young child full of deception, anger, and not connected, it is very hard to understand the concept of immigrant. It is heartbreaking for them, at one point thinking that college was an option, now it is a struggle to achieve or an impossible dream to catch. Hence, where the DREAMERS notion comes to be talked about.

With all that has been said, there are so many students that are wanting to go onto a university or college to make a better living, to get a better education, or to experience the whole “college experience” that their peers talk about. Education currently serves to them a gateway to be a better person that can contribute to society. Eleanor Roosevelt said “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. Students had no choice. According to their parents, they had to be here. How can these students be an individual of DREAMERS if we keep closing the doors for them. So what does it mean to be Unauthorized?  

Typically, a person has  “no papers”. That means that you do not have a social security number. Not having a social security number you have no way of working or being eligible for a driver’s license, nor can the student apply for federal student aid or FAFSA. The land of opportunities has now turn into a land of struggles. However, the U.S. Government and the Obama Administration has worked very hard to finally see some progress in the lines of Immigration Reform. Finally, for some, prayers were answered, On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal called The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). To find out more on eligibility visit the Department of Homeland Security’s page (DHS) for additional information; eligibility, renewal of DACA, application, and what defines DACA.   

Going back to helping students continue their education, I believe that education is huge component of receiving DACA, as well as if an Official at DHS sees your education progress that’s a big part of looking great on the application. One major part that I always encourage students is number one, to apply for DACA (if you can be able to afford it) and number two is to look for 2 year community colleges that can receive admissions to those students who are DACA recipients or not. It is not that colleges do not want to admit students with situations as this, it’s that some states do not allow for students to apply for admissions being Unauthorized. Which then brings on the issue of applying for colleges. Nerdwallet has some great insights of how to go about applying for college and as a DACA student. By clicking here you can find out the steps on how to apply as a DACA or Unauthorized Immigrant student. Also, a great amount of work has been done from non-for profit organizations that can help with students that are DACA recipients or Unauthorized Immigrant Students that are looking to finance their college education.

An organization that is located in Palo Alto, CA helps students with finding schools that they have partnered with to help students seek opportunities to go to college. The mission of QuestBridge is a powerful platform bridging the nation’s brightest, under-served youth and leading institutions of higher education and further opportunities. We are an aggregator of excellence. QuestBridge provides a single, internet-based meeting point which links exceptional students with colleges, scholarship providers, enrichment programs, employers, and organizations seeking students who have excelled despite obstacles. By facilitating these exchanges, QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented low-income students attending the nation’s best universities and the ranks of national leadership itself.

Also, the best part of these colleges and universities is that they provide a great amount of institutional scholarships. If you would like to know which schools are part of the QuestBridge please visit: QuestBridge. It will provide much information on scholarships and as well as opportunities to even apply. This is a great opportunities for students to get engaged in and also it provides a gateway to help them understand that there is a way or a possibility that they can too go to college.

I hope that this has helped in making it more understanding of what Unauthorized individuals go through and as well as the struggles of what some of the brightest students go through in making a choice to go to school or not because policies put into place that hinder them from going to college.

Alex Bonilla, MBA
Multicultural Recruitment Coordinator
Defiance College
Abonilla@defiance.edu