Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 85

Undocumented Student Mattering
undocumented students could take advantage of the opportunity for academic help,
advice on working with faculty, and networking. She also noted the relevance of an
informal DACA or undocumented peer network because " It's a very close-knit community, "
and people do not want to be judged for seeking help from faculty or staff. Given
the significance that participants placed on connecting with others such as educators
and peers, especially in identity-based spaces, it is important to understand all the barriers
that impede these efforts.
DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS
Understanding undocumented college students' perceptions of living on campus and
the significance of marginality and mattering is a crucial part of the current scholarly
conversation about supporting this minoritized student population (Dumford et al.,
2019; Jacoby & Garland, 2004; Schudde, 2011). Though participants' perceptions and
responses were extremely valuable for the present study, gathering information from
a wide range of undocumented college students could provide even more useful data.
Studying only one sub-population, such as those who already live on campus, will
further minoritize those on the fringes and omit voices that can inform practice. The
current study contributes to the scholarly conversation by highlighting the reality that
none of our five participants lived on campus, which indicated how impactful these
very real barriers were for them.
Facilitating this sense of mattering for undocumented college students is particularly
pressing, since connection plays such an important role in increasing satisfaction
and retention (Schlossberg, 1989). Feeling that one matters is a fundamental human
right that educators should center in their work, particularly for students with minoritized
social identities. Undocumented Latinx college students, as reflected in the current
study sample, face oppression because of their multiple minoritized social identities-based
on race, class, gender, and sexuality-and must constantly confront issues
of immigration status, language, ethnicity, and culture (Shelton, 2019). Although
there is a growing body of scholarship on the experiences of undocumented college
students overall, little research focuses specifically on their perceptions of barriers to
living on campus, which were so pressing that all five participants felt they had to live
off campus even if it meant missing out on opportunities for engagement and connection.
The current study can raise the awareness of campus educators and can inform
practice to better support this marginalized student population by facilitating a sense
of mattering. The following discussion and implications offer recommendations for
practitioners to support mattering and belonging in undocumented college students
who have limited or no access to on-campus housing opportunities.
Current study findings affirmed that undocumented college students recognized the
benefits of living on campus but also acknowledged external constraints that kept them
from being able to take advantage of this opportunity. Understanding these realities is a
first step in guiding practice to foster their ties to campus environments. Participants' stories
reflected the prohibitive realities of family and economic constraints and the feelings
of marginalization caused by their missing out on the benefits of living on campus, such
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