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! If you have any questions, or want to get more involved, please contact us at 215-832-0636 or education@paimmigrant.org.

Welcoming Schools Campaign

This campaign grew out of conversations at the 2016 youth convening and the priorities voiced by youth. This is a preventative campaign that hopes to better educate administration and educators, parents, and students about the rights of immigrant, refugee, Muslim, black, LGBTQ and all impacted by the election’s rhetoric. The Welcoming Schools Campaign calls for schools districts and local colleges and universities to:

  • Create and enact policies to protect our 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 our students to not let ICE officials into schools or to detain students or parents at school bus stops.
  • To grant tuition equity to undocumented students enrolled at universities and colleges in Pennsylvania.

For more information, see the Welcoming Schools Toolkit and 2019 Welcoming Schools Report.

Fair Funding for Schools

PICC is a member of the PA Schools Work Campaign, calling for a student-driven, long-term, predictable education funding system that equitably distributes enough state funding to ensure students in every public school meet academic standards and are prepared for success as adults.

Lack of funding for public schools can hit immigrant children particularly hard. Not only do immigrant and refugee children often attend underfunded schools that face all of the challenges outlined above, 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.

Access to Higher Education

Undocumented students face unique challenges when applying for college. Some colleges and universities view undocumented students as out-of-state or international students, and charge higher tuition rates than for other residents of Pennsylvania. Many scholarships and types of financial aid are not open to undocumented students. For many students, this means putting a hold on or ending to dreams of attending college. See our Access to Higher Education Toolkit for more information.