Project on Immigration and Higher Education

About the Project

The Project on Immigration and Higher Education (PIHE) is a research project that looks at the experience of immigrant students at different City University of New York campuses. We are especially interested in the experiences of students who are undocumented immigrants or those who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

Immigrant students have unique needs and circumstances that can make going to college and finding a job difficult. Over 20,000 of CUNY students in the past 15 years have been undocumented. We believe that it is important to have an accurate picture of their paths into and out of college and into the labor force. For example, we want to learn what colleges do to help or hurt student success. We want to know how students make choices about majors and careers, and whether colleges have the up-to-date information about NY state license requirements to support student plans.

We want to gather full and accurate information about the diverse experiences of immigrant students at CUNY. We plan to use the results of our study to advocate for policies at CUNY that support immigrant students better and ensure their success in school and beyond. We also hope that our study helps fight for more fair immigration policies on the state and federal level, and to raise awareness of the obstacles facing immigrant students in New York City and the rest of the country.

Between 2018 and 2020, we interviewed current and former CUNY students, some of their siblings, and college staff and faculty. We also analyzed anonymous administrative data that contains information about student performance and coursework in college. The project started in September of 2017 and is ongoing. In November 2021, we are starting follow up interviews with those who participated in earlier interviews. If you want to be interviewed again, email at our encrypted email Participation is confidential. $40 payment is available for participation.

This project is made possible by the generous funding of our sponsors: