Our Mission

✦ C.A.N. is dedicated to forging a world where education is accessible to all. With operational hubs in NJ, NYC, and D.C., we champion the humanity, dignity, and civil rights of undocumented immigrants, actively working to reshape the criminalizing narrative around migration and to decolonize perspectives on borders, citizenship, and internationalism.

We inspire Undocumented immigrants and BIPOC youth to become passionate advocates for their communities, guiding them in becoming change-makers.

Our mentorship program, led by diverse experienced graduates and professionals volunteers, provides personalized guidance to students during the college application cycle and after enrollment. We motivate students to pursue their goals and empower them to believe in their potential and skills. We will accept new mentee applications before the fall 0f 2024.

Additionally, we educate our current students and social media followers on intersectional social issues to raise the collective consciousness, build change-makers, and mobilize community members to take transformative action. Fostering community through social media, we share tailored resources, scholarships, and opportunities, creating a supportive digital network for social, academic, and personal empowerment.

Here are several reasons why undocumented students and students of color need support in higher education:

Broken Education System+ Broken Immigration System

→ Students of color and first-generation low-income students often hail from communities burdened by systemic disadvantages and generational racial trauma. This includes limited access to quality education, economic disparities, language barriers, and discriminatory policies. The U.S. public school system, since its inception, has been entrenched by white supremacy, exclusion, and intentional racial and economic plunder, perpetuating inequities and affecting students' preparedness for college.

→ Undocumented and DACAmented students encounter exacerbated challenges in their pursuit of education. Comprising less than 2% of higher education enrollment in the U.S., they contend with limited funding sources and face barriers from many universities, fellowships, and scholarship programs due to their citizenship status.

The pervasive fear of deportation looms large when these students decide to pursue education, and the absence of U.S. citizenship adds significant systemic barriers. This underscores the urgent need for reform in both the education and immigration systems to foster a more inclusive and equitable society.

Access and Enrollment Gaps

Students of color and working-class students may encounter barriers to accessing higher education institutions. Factors such as limited financial resources, lack of information about available opportunities, lack of SAT/ACT resources, limited language access, and bias in admissions processes can contribute to enrollment gaps.

→ The college application process can be more complex for undocumented students, as they may be required to  provide necessary documentation and meeting admission requirements. Many undocumented students face restrictions on attending certain colleges and universities, as they may be barred from enrollment.

Financial Barriers

Financial constraints can significantly impact students, limiting their ability to afford tuition, textbooks, housing, travel, food, and other necessary expenses. For many first-generation students, accessing federal and state financial aid proves challenging due to systemic barriers arising from the intricate application process and a lack of guidance. The complexity of bureaucracies and language barriers further exacerbate the inaccessibility of these crucial resources.

Undocumented students, despite being required to apply for federal financial aid (FAFSA) during school applications, do not qualify for it. However, at least 18 states offer state financial aid to students who meet  specific set criteria. Furthermore, most scholarships necessitate U.S. residency or citizenship, excluding millions of undocumented students from merit and diversity scholarship opportunities.

We welcome donations to cover these pressing costs for students in our community, including DACA renewal fees to safeguard DACA recipients from deportation.

Addressing Bias and Discrimination

Higher education institutions and campus environments often perpetuate biases, micro-aggressions, racial trauma, and discrimination affecting first-generation, low-income, Black, Indigenous, and students of color.

→ As previous student activists, we empower current students to feel empowered to address bias incidents, voice their safety concerns, put their wellbeing first, and advocate for policies and practices that promote inclusivity and equality on campus.

Many students of color face a sense of isolation or marginalization in predominantly white institutions. Cultural, social, and economic differences, as well as unfamiliarity with the college environment, can make it challenging to adapt socially, financially, and academically.

→ Our holistic support services offers guidance, mentorship, and resources to help students navigate these social, cultural, and academic transitions.

Black, Indigenous, and Students of color are no longer just taking up space in higher education.
We're actively resisting institutional oppression and demanding justice.

College Access for Non-citizens is a non-partisan, grassroots, youth-led nonprofit organization (501(c)(3)), committed to dismantling barriers in higher education.