Limited Career Options For AB 540 Undocumented Students

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California's AB 540 law allows qualified undocumented students to attend state colleges and pay in-state tuition fees. However, the proof of citizenship for many science and federally subsidized fields of medicine and research still poses an obstacle and therefore limit career options for these students.

Lizbeth, 23, had gone her entire life without questioning her status in the U.S. until applying for college when she was asked to provide a Social Security number she didn't have.

Suddenly the future she had once envisioned for herself was completely out of reach and she had to reconcile her aspirations with the limited options of an undocumented student.

Now in her last year at California State University, Northridge, Lizbeth finally decided to stick with journalism with a minor in marketing, after having a run with three other options.

"I would like to start my own (public relations) business or work at a non-profit to gain experience," she says.

She initially chose biology. But when discussing her status with a university counselor he advised her against it, due to the hardships she would face trying to find a job.

She, like so many other AB 540 students, has had to adjust to their life according to the limited opportunities of undocumented immigrants.

AB 540 legislation allows students who have attended high school in California and intend to apply for legal status to pay in-state tuition.

"The mere fact of going to college is a privilege," says Lizbeth. Read more here.

As a school under the AB540 state law, CSUN offers respite and resources through the Dreams to be Heard (DTBH) student club as well as faculty and counselors.

Jose Luis Vargas, Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Director, is an AB540 advocate and adviser for DTBH. He has met with graduates who work in fields not related to their university title.