Educational Institutions

Higher Dreams Inc

Quick Facts

FLUSHING, NY

Mission

We believe that equitable access to higher education is a fundamental right. We recognize the unique challenges that exist for undocumented students applying to college, and address these unmet needs in two ways: 1) a comprehensive review of the college admissions system from the perspective of an undocumented student and 2) a network of students advancing equitable higher education for undocumented students.

Ruling Year

2016

Principal Officer

Jin Park

Co Principal Officer

Roscoe Wasserburg

Main Address

3425 150TH PL APT 5E

FLUSHING, NY 11354 USA

Keywords

K-12, undocumented, students, DACA, deferred action for childhood arrivals, college, high school

EIN

47-4688383

 Number

2903705361

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Each year, about 65,000 undocumented students who have been in the United States for more than five or more years graduate from high school all around the country. Applying to college is a stressful and confusing time for all, let alone as an undocumented student. Being undocumented presents unique challenges that are compounded by the fact that no two institutions have the same policy on admissions and financial aid for undocumented students While there are disparate resources online for undocumented students, there is no comprehensive resource that gathers the relevant information for undocumented students in this important stage in their lives. Moreover, many resources are understandably written for undocumented students in specific states. Higher Dreams is a website devoted to serve the unmet needs of all undocumented students applying to college, written from the perspective of an undocumented student who has been through the process.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

School Counselor Trainings

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

HigherDreams is a 501(c)3 organization based in Boston that is dedicated to making higher education more accessible to undocumented and DACAmented high school students. Since each state, and indeed each school had their own administrative policies regarding undocumented applicants, I began to collect and systematize the process. The following year I began HigherDreams to take the knowledge I gathered and make it available for other undocumented students. Since 2016, HigherDreams has provided direct advising and trainings to students and school counselors in Boston Public Schools. This work began through my experience applying to college as an undocumented student, I found the process overbearing and incredibly confusing due to the absence of any federal guidelines. Some of the trainings are done in collaboration with the Boston Teachers Union “Unafraid Educators” group, but we provide most of the trainings independently to school counselors.

Higher Dreams is committed to in-person trainings as well as developing online resources for school counselors nation-wide. We also work directly with several other collaborators around Boston as well as national organizations for immigrant rights.

Growing up as an undocumented immigrant in the immigrant enclave of Flushing, Queens taught Jin the importance of a public school system that supports immigrant students. Thus, Jin has been working throughout his college career at Harvard to advance a fair and robust advising program for undocumented students in Boston Public Schools. After presenting this past July at the American School Counselors Association, HigherDreams has been able to expand to even more schools. We have secured some funding from different foundations and the President’s Office at Harvard University to continue the work to serve undocumented and immigrant students in Boston Public Schools.

We measure impact by the direct feedback we receive from both school counselors and students. The operation is small and while we don’t have a significant amount of disposable resources, we do take pride in our open lines of communication. More quantitatively, we will start to measure the number of undocumented students who “come out” at BPS and also end up at 4-year or 2-year college programs. However, it is difficult to know how many students are “out” about their status because of both Federal law (FERPA) and sensensitivies related to asking students to disclose their immigration status. We have always been in close contact with school counselors and students to assist in various circumstances, and in scenarios where we are unable or unqualified to render appropriate aid (e.g. teachers often reach out to us for cases where a parent is subjected to an enforcement operation), we direct them to appropriate direct service organizations.

Higher Dreams currently provides in-person trainings in collaboration with the Boston Teachers Union “Unafraid Educators” group, but we provide most of the trainings independently to school counselors. In addition, we are connected with various immigrant rights groups in Boston such as Massachusetts Immigration RA and Greater Boston Legal Services to educate the public. We intend to increase the number of available training sessions as well as awareness of these trainings. In addition, we plan to finance a more robust set of resources including a book that brings together practice, theoretical, and experiential aspects of advising undocumented students. This work is already underway -- we are currently in conversation with an editor from Routledge to publish a comprehensive resource for advising undocumented students.

External Reviews

Financials

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Operations

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable