Nationwide, undocumented students face persistent societal and institutional barriers to success. UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program works to support the equity, advancement, and empowerment of these students so they can thrive and succeed.

We provide holistic, individualized service

Each year, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools. California is home to 39 percent of these students, the majority of whom face enormous barriers to success in school and beyond, including poverty, discrimination, and a legal system that is stacked against them. UC Berkeley has become a national leader in welcoming these students and supporting them to reach their potential.

The mission of the Undocumented Student Program is to support the advancement of undocumented students within higher education and promote pathways for engaged scholarship. We practice a holistic, solution-focused approach that provides individualized service, and ensures undocumented students are treated with respect and dignity.

Aspirational Academic Counseling Framework

Our Aspirational Academic Counseling empowers non-traditional students with a sense of belonging and ownership of their college experience. Built on a commitment to educational equity and justice, counselors practice a holistic, multicultural, and comprehensive approach individualized for each student’s unique needs. With a focus on three core areas of transition, aspirational academic counseling regards students as partners in a developmental journey towards academic, professional, and personal life goals.

Building on distinct strengths honed by students prior to their arrival to the university, counselors challenge students to establish new paradigms of achievement and success for themselves and their communities.

The counseling framework is based on these five core approaches/theories:

  1. Developmental Academic Counseling Model
  2. Schlossberg’s Transition Theory
  3. Social Justice Framework
  4. Multicultural Counseling and Therapy
  5. Yosso’s Cultural Wealth Model

Empowerment leads to fulfillment

The USP’s approach is informed by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s theory suggests that basic needs – security, esteem, friendship, and physical necessities – must be met before an individual will be able to focus on the higher-level needs that enable them to thrive. We believe that supporting students’ physical and emotional needs is essential to supporting their growth. Our wrap-around services are designed to empower students with a sense of belonging as an integral part of helping them develop their talents and expand their knowledge and abilities.



Working toward campus-wide changes

We are seeing positive results from our program, but there is still more to do to empower undocumented students to achieve their full potential. We are working with UC Berkeley to make larger, campus-wide changes to address gaps in services and create an adequate and sustainable support system.

Additional Resources Download Our Philosophy

Includes: Systemic Equity & Inclusion Presentation, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Applied to the UC Berkeley USP, Holistic Ecosystem Graph