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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Social Capital and the Undocumented Student Pipeline

  • Author(s): Merlin Solorio, Benigno Antonio
  • Advisor(s): Golash-Boza, Tanya
  • et al.

This study builds on previous work on undocumented students' experiences in the Kindergarten to High School institutions. I use data from five focus groups with a total of thirty-five undocumented college students attending Central Valley University, in California. I find that undocumented students who matriculated to college had involved parents who deployed resources to help their children's academic success. I also find that undocumented students use their peers and administrators in high schools to help them attain necessary information, preparation, and funding for college. Contrary to previous research on undocumented youth, my findings suggest students could do this because of their willingness to come out to their schools' school agents and with help of parental involvement and parents' social networks. I argue that this starts from supportive California laws that offer tools that trickle down to high school undocumented students. This support leads to a more comfortable level of trust for undocumented parents to advocate for their children, and for students to effectively use their social capital. Finally, the links established between university staff and undocumented high school students through outreach, created a crucial informational pipeline for college matriculation.

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