Hello! We are a Smith College Student Organization called Organizing for Undocumented Students. We started meeting in December of 2012 after two undocumented students received Smith Admissions letters that said their applications were incomplete. We have not been able to get clear answers to what occurred in that specific case because of confidentiality restrictions. Our group strives to make Smith more accessible to undocumented students. We have met with Carol Christ (Smith College president), Audrey Smith (VP of Admissions), Deb Shaver (Director of Admission), and also Carol Christ has forwarded all the emails we sent her to the new college president, Kathleen McCarthy. Smith College Alumnus, faculty in the Latin American Studies Department, students and faculty in the Five College area, and volunteers from Freedom University have been amazing allies to us.
According to the admissions officers we have talked to, Smith does admit undocumented students. Currently, undocumented students are considered to be international applicants. Financial Aid is divided up a certain percent international, a certain percent Ada Comstock, and a certain percent domestic. The international percentages of money are much more competitive because not many colleges give aid to international students. International students also cannot receive federal aid or take out government loans. There are minor exceptions to undocumented students’ international applicant status, for example Undocumented Students are allowed to apply for Women of Distinction, Discovery Weekend, and Bridge; all of which are reserved for domestic students.
For the large majority of the semester, our group put pressure on Admissions to publish more information on the admissions website. Due to the pressure that our group has put on the administration, they did end up posting a statement about undocumented students on the admissions website (To see this click here then search the question: ‘How does Smith consider applications from undocumented students?) We want there to be more information available on the admissions website for undocumented students.
According to Smith admissions officers, undocumented students can apply but we want to make sure that claimed policy is actually practiced! We would love to hear the stories of other undocumented students who have tried to apply to Smith, if that is something that you feel comfortable sharing. In the future, we want to push for financial resources for undocumented students (If you know how to set up these grants/scholarships please email us!). If you have any information for us that would be helpful in our campaign please email OUSsmithcollege@gmail.com