The Dream Center at Fresno City College provides information and academic counseling to new and continuing undocumented students. The majority of the students served in this office are identified as Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or seeking AB 540 status. These students have unique academic and cultural needs and Fresno City College wants to provide the services they need to succeed.
Slide 1 Intro
We are fortunate to have a few of these students who are willing to share their stories with us. In the video below we will hear from Flavio Arechiga, Marco Alva, Emmanuel Miramontes, Guillermo Cervante, Roberta Bautista and Santa Claria Urquieta.
I wish to thank the following individuals involved in producing the video:
Supervising Instructors: Craig Polanowski, Kevin Cooper, and Nye Morton
Editing: Kris Avery, student
Audio Engineers: Angel Hernandez, Jose Morales and William Zellner
Video Engineers: Raphael Reynoso, Juan Gomez and Kristian Diaz
Music: Theodore Barber, Daniel Cobarrubias, Aidan McCullar, Rosasiano Morales, Salvador Viscarra Jimendez and Gaosheng Muoa
Slide 2 California Dream Act
Combination of three bills.
The California DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act is a package of California state laws that allow children who were brought into the US under the age of 16 without proper visas/immigration documentation who have attended school on a regular basis and otherwise meet in-state tuition and GPA requirements to apply for student financial aid benefits.
AB 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for non-state funded scholarships for colleges and universities. AB 131 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for state-funded financial aid.
What are the AB540 Requirements?
In order to meet the AB540 criteria, you must meet all of the following:
- You must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years.
- AND, You must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (i.e., passed the GED or California High School Proficiency exam).
- AND, Enroll in an accredited California Institution of Higher Education
- In the case of students without legal immigration status, file an AB540 Affidavit (California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request Form) with the Admissions/Registrar’s Office stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status (or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so).
- NOTE: Males between the ages of 18 – 25 are required to register with Selective Service.
- If you have a Social Security Number, you can register online at the Selective Service website
- If you don’t have a Social Security Number, you can mail your registration form
Slide 3 FCC Dream Center
Design and focus
The FCC Dream Center opened in September of last year and came about as a result of the legislation and SCCCD Board involvement. The original focus was to find space and provide services. AND we are providing soft services such as:
- College orientation
- Advising and counseling
- Referral to financial aid, EOPS, and Admission and Records
- Referrals to reliable legal and wellness services
The initial service delivery model was “place bound” and “FCC Staff Centered”
Slide 4 FCC Dream Center
The Dream Center is staffed by:
- 2 dedicated part-time counselors (Sandra Velazquez and Erica Ramos)
- 3 student aides
- 2 counseling liaisons
- Graciela Ramirez, General Counseling – roughly 14 hours per week
- Noel Quintero, general and College Relations outreach counselor-His primary focus is working with Dreamers at the high schools. – (Paid out of SSSP Funds)
Slide 5 FCC Dream Center
Through my process of learning more about the Dream Center, I found that there is a discrepancy in the data regarding number served. During the September 6th Board meeting, I shared my first report on the board. I reported that, “The Dream Center has served 367 students since opening last September.” While that number may be accurate, it could not be validated.
The issue of effective data collection will be shared in more detail later in my presentation. For now, I wanted to call to attention the discrepancy. What you see in this slide and subsequent slides, is data that has been verified and validated by our Institutional Research Division.
Slide 6 - Student Demographics
Gender & Age
Let’s take a look at these students…who are they? More females visited the Dream Center than males. Eighty percent of the students who visited the Dream Center were 24 or under.
Slide 7 - Top Majors
Please note that these are the Top Ten selected majors and do not reflect the wide diversity of majors.
Also note that 15 Dreamers earned a degree or certificate during last year. So the question for me was, HOW do these students compare to others? How do we know if our services and workshops are making a difference?
Slide 8 - Achievement GPA
Dream Center vs. AB 540
First we wanted to look at their grade point averages. This slide shows the comparison. For the comparison, we used a standard research methodology; find a similar cohort group that was not receiving the “treatment” and measure. Here we compare students who received Dream Center services to other AB540 students…you will note, that while the sample size is small, the difference is statistically significant.
Slide 9 - Achievement Course Success
Dream Center vs. AB 540
Next we examined Course Success, meaning did students complete their course with a passing grade of a C or better? And again, you will note that the results are statistically significant.
Slide 10 - Achievement Course Retention
Dream Center vs. AB 540
Lastly, we analyzed course retention…meaning, did they stay in their class? Here it is statistically significant, however we maintain that the effect size is too small to determine. But this is an area we should continue to monitor and watch.
Slide 11 - Monthly Visits
This is just a simplistic view to look at customer flow…and it allows us to look at peak times. Which nothing here is a surprise in terms of increased visits during enrollment season. This is useful information and with increased focus on benchmarks… we will continue to examine productivity…and include other aspects of effective intrusive programming.
Slide 12 - Lessons Learned
I have eluded to this and I think it is important for all of us to acknowledge…We MUST be much more intentional in the design of services as well as the design of future Key Performance Indicators.
Slide 13 - Lessons Learned
- Staff is getting out and working to be integrated in the campus culture.
- Previously, Follow Up Services were not provided…We are doing this now. Just as we identified existing technology tools used in Data Collection, we will be seeking technology that allows us to easily keep in contact with our Dreamers.
- Based on student feedback, staff has now planned more workshops on and off campus to increase awareness and provide additional services, specifically, as it relates to immigration assistance and academic support.
Slide 14 - Lessons Learned
- Staff was begun working to connect with existing programs on campus like EOPS, Puente and the student club, Students Without Borders.
- Again, based on feedback we have received from students, we know they want to see more of a social media presence, so we have begun to work with our PIO to develop an awareness campaign and subsequent events.
- Lastly, there is an acknowledgement by staff and after watching that short video, you would agree, Fresno City College has many, many talented students. We will be working with them to help get the word out.
Slide 15 - Pathway to Improvement
For me, the big “a-ha” moment that I took away from all of this is that there must be a Champion for the Dream Center. While not on the slide, it is important to note that there is a follow up meeting scheduled with community members slated for later this month.
Slide 16 - Questions