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Supporting Undocumented College Students and Their Families in California

Undocumented young people and their families are integral to the social, economic, and cultural fabric of California. The state is home to roughly 3 million undocumented residents, with an estimated 72,000 undocumented youth attending California’s public institutions of higher education.

Today, the Heising-Simons Foundation is thrilled to be one of the inaugural funders of the California Campus Catalyst Fund (the Catalyst Fund), a three-year, $10 million initiative designed to expand and create programs in the higher education system to support undocumented students and their families.

The Catalyst Fund is founded by educators, funders, and advocates to increase support at campuses representing the state’s three public higher education systems: California Community Colleges, California State University, and the University of California. We are delighted to be supporting this effort alongside 12 other foundations across the state.

Thirty-two campuses have received grants from the Fund starting this school year to support resource centers, legal services, mental health services, and other support for undocumented students and their families. The Catalyst Fund draws the connection between students and families because many undocumented students view their futures as closely linked to the security of their families, and because immigrant students often act as “connectors” between needed services and their family members.

At a time when immigrant communities are grappling with fear and uncertainty, the Catalyst Fund offers a beacon of hope for our collective humanity: when we support undocumented students and their families, everyone benefits. Learn more at

Human Rights