Lydia* was a standout student at her New York City high school. Her name regularly appeared on the honor roll for academic merit. She excelled in her favorite subjects, Math and Economics. Like many of her classmates, she dreamed of becoming the first person in her family to attend college.
But when she began researching options for financial support, Lydia hit a brick wall. She had come to the US as a child and had no documentation of her citizenship. Immigration rules prevented her from accessing federal student loans. She was also denied other kinds of assistance that would require a Social Security number.
Deeply discouraged, Lydia nevertheless hung on to her college dream. One afternoon, she took a big risk. She confided her immigration status to her mentor, a volunteer with EY College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence), which supports students in underserved high schools so that they may succeed academically and pursue a college education.
EY College MAP Mentors team with EY Visa & Immigration professionals to provide guidance
Her mentor immediately went to bat for Lydia. She tracked down resources, researched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, accompanied the teenager to her preferred college campus and helped her manage the complex college application process — from personal statement to financial aid deadlines.
Their journey inspired the EY national Program Director for College MAP, Carolina Dominguez, to make it easier for other mentors to support undocumented students. She partnered with the EY Visa & Immigration team to compile a list of nonprofits and other resources that support undocumented students in the 22 states where EY people volunteer as College MAP mentors.
“It’s an absolute necessity that we provide support to these students,” says Carolina. “We created this list so that mentors, students and their families don’t have to navigate complex immigration policies on their own. All of our students now have access to the guidance and resources they need to get closer to their college dreams.”
EY is eager to share the resource list with schools and nonprofits that support Dreamers but may not have the bandwidth to do the research on their own. Download the free resource list for Dreamers here.
Thanks in part to the assistance of her College MAP mentor, Lydia is pursuing a degree in Business Administration through The City University of New York and is thriving, now in her junior year.
* Not her real name