Educating Undocumented Students at a Jesuit University

Most undocumented youth were brought to the United States by their families at a young age and grow up attending American schools, speaking English, and believing in the American dream—that with hard work, anyone can rise up and overcome the circumstances of their birth. But for many undocumented students, no matter how hard they work, their dream of college is out of reach. These young men and women are not eligible for federal financial aid and most private scholarships, as many of these require citizenship or legal permanent residency. The result is that, of the 80,000 or so undocumented students who turn 18 each year, only about 10% will enroll in a post-secondary institution and far fewer are expected to graduate with a four-year degree, making undocumented youth one of the most vulnerable populations served by U.S. schools.

A Catholic, Jesuit Institution

As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, it is central to our identity to strive for a more just world—one in which all of God’s children can flourish. Catholic Social Teaching on immigration underscores our moral obligation to “welcome the stranger among us,” to embrace diverse newcomers and provide assistance to immigrants, migrants, and refugees.

Statement of AJCU Presidents on Undocumented Students

On Nov. 30, 2016, President Lovell reaffirmed our commitment to the undocumented student community by signing the Statement of AJCU Presidents on Undocumented Students. In it, the presidents of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities vowed to continue to protect undocumented students on our campuses to the fullest extent of the law and to promote the retention of DACA. It states, in part, “Grounded in our Catholic and Jesuit mission, we are guided by our commitment to uphold the dignity of every person, to work for the common good of our nation, and to promote a living faith that works for justice. We see our work of teaching, scholarship and the formation of minds and spirits as a sacred trust…That trust calls us to embrace the entire human family, regardless of their immigration status or religious allegiance.” Marquette University is committed to helping undocumented students obtain an education and thereby affording them with the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.