Masters Thesis

Graduate student reflections of their undocumented experience: A qualitative study of the hardships experienced in higher education

The purpose of this research study is to identify how being an undocumented student has affected the undergraduate academic experiences of current graduate students. This study exhibits narratives from four students who have earned a bachelor’s degree and are currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate credential and/or master’s degree at a university located in the Central Valley. When exploring each individual unique experience during their undergraduate career there is a significant focus on the hardships they endured. However, the research also highlights the types of support that existed and were available at their respective undergraduate campuses. A crucial aspect of this study is the target on acquiring narratives of individuals who have already overcame the difficulties that come with being an undocumented undergraduate student. The goal of this research is to bring awareness to the various amounts of limitations and hardships that undocumented students face daily and to highlight their resilience through their stories of success. The information gathered from this study may be used to better understand undocumented students, and the need to better serve and support these students on higher education campuses. This study explored the exterior and interior factors that exist in higher education for undocumented students. The research is guided by the following question: What are some of the hardships that graduate students have faced as an undocumented student pursuing an undergraduate degree?