Ab 540: Tuition Waiver Policy in California. How Student Affairs Professionals Influence Access for Undocumented Students

This study was an exploratory qualitative study examining the experiences of front-line student affairs professionals in admissions, financial aid, and Dream Resource Centers and their dilemmas in interpreting and implementing AB 540/AB 2000. Study participants shared their narratives on how they navigated through difficult conversations, irate students, institutional polices, and state legislation. Many times, front-line professionals in admissions, financial aid, and Dream Resource Centers are the first and only people who interact with undocumented students prior to the first day of class. Front-line professionals may be the make-it or break-it persons for undocumented students to realize their dreams of attaining post-secondary education. These professionals utilized their knowledge, resources, and networks to help students navigate the collegegoing process; however, campus policies and state and federal laws, departmental silos, lack of professional development, resources, guidance, personal experiences, and knowledge of the Dreamers population dictated the capacity to which they could help. With the delay in receiving guidance from management and institutions and the demand to serve a large number of students, front-line admissions and financial aid professionals found it difficult to exercise self-discretion, which resulted in diminished levels of care and attention.


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