Though a recent decision from the United States Supreme Court has paused the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the University has developed plans to provide support to DACA recipients and undocumented students on campus in the event of the program’s suspension, according to a letter from the Provost’s office. The letter outlines a plan to create a fellowship program for undergraduate undocumented students and announces the offering of a tuition-free fifth-year Master’s program for undocumented students graduating from Brown in 2018. These programs build on the University’s earlier initiatives to provide undocumented students with legal resources and support, as The Herald previously reported.
The implementation of the fellowship program and the offer of a tuition-free Master’s degree are contingent on the end of the DACA program. Undocumented students who are not prior DACA recipients are also eligible for both opportunities should the DACA program end, wrote Julio Reyes ’12, director of the First-Generation College and Low-Income Center, in an email to The Herald.
The termination of the DACA program would result in program participants losing their work authorization. As a result, the University has offered to create “in-school and post-graduate opportunities for students unable to work legally to engage in stipend-supported research and education that is not citizenship-dependent,” according to the Provost’s letter.
“Students who may lose the authority to work legally still want to have meaningful engagement,” wrote Marisa Quinn, chief of staff to the provost, in an email to The Herald.
In addition to these citizenship-independent opportunities, the University will offer an Experiential Learning Fellowship for undergraduate undocumented students and DACA recipients. The Experiential Learning Fellowship — created through a collaboration between the Dean of the College and the Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services — will offer eligible students “campus-based experiential learning fellowships that a student would apply for through the FLi Center” as an alternative to traditional work-study opportunities during the semester, Quinn wrote. “If DACA is eliminated, we anticipate offering two fellowships per semester with a stipend of $750 each.”
“Students are free to submit an application in any subject area they want,” Reyes said. “I and a team of other administrators would read through the application and then decide which faculty or staff members to connect them with.”
In order to create a structure for the fellowship program, Reyes collaborated with the advisory board of the Undocumented and DACA Student Initiative to come up with ideas, he said. The advisory board, which consists of approximately 10 members, includes students from various fields of study, allowing administrators to “pull from student knowledge and student expertise,” Reyes added.
Students who participate in the fellowship will be required to create a research-based project, Reyes said. He added that the process would allow students to connect with faculty and local organizations.
The aim of the program is to allow undocumented and DACA students to “continue having co-curricular experiences and access to opportunities,” Reyes said.
In addition to the Experiential Learning Fellowships, if DACA is eliminated, the University is also prepared to “waive tuition and provide a stipend” for undocumented students and DACA recipients who will graduate from the University in 2018 and qualify for admission in a master’s program, wrote Shayna Kessel, associate dean of the Graduate School.
“In the short term, the Provost’s office will support these initiatives, and if they need to be sustained, we will submit a proposal for the next cycle’s (University Resources Committee) process,” Quinn wrote. These efforts reflect an intention to “offer meaningful engagement and access to educational opportunity in a period of uncertainty,” Quinn added.