During the 2014 National Association of Advisors for the
Health Professions National Meeting, June 25–29 in San Francisco, ADEA Access,
Diversity and Inclusion (ADEA ADI) staff members met with college pre-health
advisors to share information about ADEA’s Explore Health Careers website, the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools
and the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program.
Historically, the meeting has had a medical focus, so ADEA
ADI staff took the opportunity to discuss dental professions with the pre-health
advisors. ADEA ADI staff received outstanding feedback from advisors on all the
resources ADEA presented for equipping students considering dental professions.
A session titled “Supporting and Advising Undocumented
Students” was also informative to ADEA ADI’s work, as a number of undocumented
dental students are currently studying in the United States. Undocumented individuals
residing in the United States are explicitly excluded from coverage under the
Affordable Care Act,.
In California, however, state policy support includes the
Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which provides
in-state tuition, financial aid and institutional funding for undocumented
students. In addition, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act provides a deferred status that makes this
funding possible. In the United
States, there are an estimated 1.6 million undocumented people between the ages
of 19 and 34. Of DACA applications, 98,531, or 27%, are from California.
The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program is open to individuals
granted deferred action status under DACA. Undocumented students can be admitted
as independent contractors at academic institutions, using ITIN numbers,
providing an avenue for financial support of undocumented students during their
Other ways to provide financial support to undocumented
students include state institution aid, increased access to private funding and
creative ways to help finance education (such as crowd funding). Another is
providing career exposure opportunities and training staff on how to
appropriately mentor and advise students. On the graduate school level, schools
can advocate for acceptance and admissions policies that include undocumented
students, embrace non-traditional paths many undocumented students have to take
in applying, and be informed about immigration policies that affect students in
the long term.