Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Tina Jaeckle

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

James Pann


counselors, DACA, Dream Act, financial aid, in-state tuition policies, undocumented Latino students


The purpose of this study was to explore the mindsets and challenges faced by undocumented Latino students who are pursuing a post-secondary education. The study sought to explain the challenges of the DREAM Act and DACA and its challenges for approval in Congress. This study also sought to examine how undocumented students pursue a college education without financial assistance. Understanding immigration laws helped shape Americans’ perception of undocumented Latino students’ status, struggles, and financial hardships. Three leading factors that contribute to undocumented students’ persistence were analyzed in this study: financial assistance, academic issues, and legal issues. This study was conducted using face-to-face interviews. The goal for this study was two-fold: 1) to understand the journeys of undocumented Latino students and their desire to continue a post-secondary education under challenging and inconvenient circumstances and 2) to understand the tone of undocumented students’ political activism trajectories. There are legal issues implicating undocumented students in the criminal justice system. In the future, to better serve the undocumented population institutional policy makers ought to create solutions on bridging the gap between state or local law enforcement agencies and educational outcomes of undocumented college students.