Undocumented students learn about path to college

Navigate MN conference
Navigate MN hosted a conference for undocumented high school students interested in attending college at the University of Minnesota Dec. 3, 2011. Navigate MN helps students with the financial and legal steps to college.
Photo courtesy of Navigate MN

More than 100 students attended Minnesota's first-ever conference for undocumented high school students seeking a college education Saturday at the University of Minnesota.

The event, organized by the group Navigate, included workshops on the legal and financial steps to college.

Navigate Executive Director Juventino Meza said the group had a lot of support for the event, but he says there was some criticism over calling it a conference for, quote, "undocumented students."

"And we decided, you know what, there is a negative rhetoric already in our communities and there is fear, and we want to make sure students have a space where they can be undocumented -- where they can talk about it and ask questions," he said.

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Meza said it's important for students to feel encouraged and supported.

"What we're seeing around the country is a lot of anti-immigrant policies being passed and there is an anti-immigrant sentiment that is very rampant and so we want to make sure that students are not just listening to that and that they're having access to good stories, to positive stories," Meza said.

Meza says Navigate hopes to hold many more conferences so that students have support and accurate information about how to go to college.

Navigate was created by an immigrant college student in 2007. The organization offers high school students a leadership program, as well as help with the financial and legal steps to college.