Common App Announcement at NCORE

This is a transcript of the announcement made by "Daniel Vargas" at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education on May 30, 2013

It is an honor to be here at NCORE. Today is a historic day and it is fitting for this moment to take place at this conference. Represented here today are faculty and administrators from some of the most prestigious colleges across the country, many of which are members of the Common Application. The Common Application and NCORE share a commitment to the values of equality, integrity, and access within American higher education.

I am here today to announce two changes to the Common Application that will greatly increase college access for an entire community. But before I reveal what the future has in store, I need to address the past. Not too long ago, it was brought to our attention that we, The Common Application, were not upholding our own values. Today we apologize to the undocumented American community for years of discrimination.

Every year thousands of undocumented students learn what it fully means to be undocumented when they realize that they have a 5% chance of attending college. Yes, according to one study, currently only 5% of undocumented youth ever attend college. A key reason for this is because private colleges inaccurately label undocumented Americans as "international," which guarantees them a separate and unequal admissions process. This practice has been permitted and facilitated by the Common Application.

Until now. Today I’m here to announce that the upcoming Common Application is taking the necessary steps to make sure that all students, including undocumented students are treated fairly when it comes to college admissions. The updated demographics section will include the term "undocumented American," allowing these students to better self-identify. We are also updating our non-discrimination clause to include "undocumented status."

In the coming days, people will call this change many things. But we gathered here know that equality is not radical but is common sense; and the undocumented American community, which is represented here today, knows that this change could not come soon enough. So for both NCORE and the Common App, our commitment to equality, integrity, and college access can not end here. Indeed, this is where it begins. I encourage all of you to help lead your institution in welcoming this change and more importantly, in welcoming these students.