Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

Education Justice

PICC is committed to ensuring that immigrant and refugee students at all levels have access to safe and welcoming schools that address their unique needs. Current campaigns and advocacy efforts include: supporting passage of tuition equity policies, advocating for welcoming school policies at all levels, increasing access to higher education for undocumented students, and fair and adequate funding for public schools.

PICC has created a variety of toolkits to help youth, and educators to get involved in creating more welcoming schools for immigrant and refugee students. Please download and use in your community!

Welcoming Schools Campaign

The goal of this campaign is to educate school administration and educators about how they create policies and practices that welcome and support immigrant and refugee students and families. The Welcoming Schools Campaign calls for schools districts and local colleges and universities to:

  • Create and enact policies to protect students, parents, and members of the community where they reside regardless of immigration status, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
  • To denounce immigration raids in the community and publicly support community members detained by ICE.
  • To create resolutions and policies that protects the safety of immigrant and refugee students, including prohibiting ICE officials from entering schools or school property without a judicial warrant.

At the core of this campaign are students and parents. PICC has created a Welcoming Schools Toolkit and holds regular trainings and workshops to give parents and students the information and tools they need to advocate for change. PICC also conducts an annual survey of immigrant and refugee students to learn about their experiences in school.

Tuition Equity & Access to Higher Education

Many immigrant and refugee students face unique challenges when applying for, and attending, college. Many colleges and universities view undocumented students, and students with temporary immigration status, as out-of-state or international students, and charge higher tuition rates than for other residents of Pennsylvania – even when that student has lived in the state for many years and attended a Pennsylvania high school. Many scholarships and types of financial aid are not open to undocumented students and students with temporary immigration status. For many students, this means putting a hold on or ending to dreams of attending college. Policies like providing in-state tuition equity for all students can lower these barriers, making college accessible to all students.

See our Access to Higher Education Toolkit for more information about how to navigate the college application process as an immigrant student.

Fair & Equitable Funding for Schools

PICC supports public education funding system that equitably distributes enough state funding to ensure students in every public school have the resources they need to learn and thrive and are prepared for success as adults.

Lack of funding for public schools can hit immigrant and refugee children particularly hard. Not only do immigrant and refugee children often attend underfunded schools, but they often face the additional hurdles of having limited English proficiency and not being adequately prepared for the demands and expectations of the public school system.