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MCAN receives funding to support undocumented students

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Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 08:30:35-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) received a $30,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) to partner with One Michigan for the Global Majority to support undocumented students in their pursuit of postsecondary education. The grant is a part of the Southwest Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative. The primary objective of this grant is to provide undocumented students, their families, educators, advisers and immigrant youth advocates the necessary resources and information to successfully guide and support undocumented students to higher education in Michigan.

This grant will help the newly formed Michigan Coalition for Undocumented Student Success. The coalition has nearly 20 partners engaged, a leadership team, and a set of goals to accomplish. The mission of the coalition is to increase college awareness, access and participation in postsecondary education for credential completion for students who are affected by undocumented status in Michigan. The coalition’s work was launched when the University of Michigan’s National Forum on the Higher Education for the Public Good organized the first statewide convening on this topic. Grand Valley State University and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center will also be integral collaborators in this work.

The goal of this initiative is to address and, where possible, eliminate barriers at the national, state and institutional levels which constrain educational opportunities for undocumented immigrant students. Specifically, grant funding will be used to hire a program coordinator who will facilitate the translation of an undocumented student guide to college into Spanish, Arabic and Chinese; lead training sessions with Michigan educators on how to best support college-bound undocumented students; and organize a statewide undocumented student success conference.

“MCAN is committed to improving the college pathway for undocumented students in Michigan,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN. “They deserve opportunities, resources and support. Many of these youth are first-generation students, so they need our help navigating the additional challenges they face because of their status. We look forward to working with One Michigan and the coalition to remove barriers and increase college access.”

MCAN has been involved with the coalition even prior to its official establishment. MCAN funded the graphic design for the revision of the Undocumented Student Guide to College in Michigan and has offered start-up support for the coalition.

“For 10 years, One Michigan has been led by undocumented volunteers fighting for liberation,” said Samantha Magdaleno, executive director of One Michigan. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with coalition partners that realize directly affected voices need to be in front when working on education issues in the undocumented community. All of us are determined to do all we can to support these students and their families as they navigate and feel welcomed in academic settings."

“The coalition is appreciative of the generous funding that we have been awarded,” said Adriana Almanza, chairperson of the Michigan Coalition for Undocumented Student Success and assistant director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Grand Valley State University. “We are excited to build our capacity and continue to educate and advocate with and for undocumented students across the state of Michigan.”

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