As the Trump Administration works to shutter the program, Brown University officials plan a proactive response to the potential end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Officials with the Rhode Island university have mapped the development of a fellowship program in offering assistance to undocumented students, including through a tuition-free fifth-year Master’s program graduating from Brown in 2018.
Brown’s implementation of the fellowship and Master’s program offerings, contingent on the end of deferred action, builds on initiatives previously adopted by university officials. In the fall of 2016, Brown began considering undocumented students and those students who qualify for DACA as “domestic students in the admission process,” according to The Brown Daily Herald. Besides giving eligibility for need-blind financial aid to undocumented and DACA members of the student body, university leadership took steps last year to “provide undocumented students with legal resources and support,” the student newspaper reports.
While the Trump Administration’s efforts to end DACA currently remain stalled in the courts, Brown University officials foresee the potential need for a safety net for undocumented students. In meeting the potential need, the school is ready to roll out “citizenship-independent opportunities” that offer affected students access to an Experiential Learning Fellowship available to undocumented students. With the elimination of DACA, officials expect to offer 2 fellowships per semester with a stipend of $750 each. The fellowship is the result of collaboration between the Dean of the College and the Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services.
“In the short term, the Provost’s offices will support these initiatives,” says Marisa Quinn, an official with the Brown Provost office. “If they need to be sustained, we will submit a proposal for the next cycle’s (University Resources Committee) process.” In essence, the intention behind the efforts is to “offer meaningful engagement and access to educational opportunity in a period of uncertainty.”