Community college policies affecting undocumented students
This study examined community college policies and practices related to undocumented students in Iowa. Critical race theory’s tenet of interest convergence and the qualitative methods of phenomenological interviewing and document review were utilized to answer the following research questions: (a) What is the legislative and political policy discourse about undocumented students in Iowa? (b) What are the institutional policies and practices regarding undocumented community college students in Iowa? (c) How do institutional policies and practices differ among community colleges in Iowa? Findings indicate that community colleges attempt to respond to changing demographics and workforce needs, but practices regarding undocumented and DACA students are inconsistent and not rewarded at an institutional level. Institutions and their agents take calculated risks when serving undocumented students. Students and their families also navigate significant risks in processes of college-going. Analysis using the Critical Race Theory tenet of interest convergence leads to implications for policy and practice and recommendations for future research. An autoethnographic reflection is also presented.