My name is Juan Munoz-Ponce, I am an Undocumented Student, DACA recipient, and proud Wolverine at the University of Michigan. In my twenty years (20) of living in Michigan, I have learned to persevere throughout my life as a first-generation immigrant transfer student and have worked tirelessly to get accepted to the University of Michigan. However, my dream of becoming an architect is being put on hold due to the intersection of federal and institutional policy that has resulted in me owing a semester's worth of out-of-state tuition. I have tried everything in my power to try and resolve my situation, but have not been successful. I ask that you consider helping me continue my education by donating to and sharing this GoFundMe Campaign.
To learn more about my journey, please continue reading.
I was brought to the United States at the age of four and have been living in Detroit, Michigan for twenty (20) years, a place that I proudly call home. Despite being a first-generation undocumented college student, I enrolled at Henry Ford Community College where I received an associate’s degree in Architecture Technology and Industrial Design Technology. Due to my status, I do not qualify for federal financial aid. I was able to pay my tuition with the money I saved from working.
After completing my associate’s degree, I was accepted to the architecture program at Taubman College at the University of Michigan. I was overwhelmed with pride and excitement when I received my acceptance letter. During my first semester, I was informed that undocumented students must apply to the university within twenty-eight (28) months after graduating from a Michigan high school to qualify for in-state tuition. Despite completing my entire education in the State of Michigan, I was classified as an out of state student. I completed my associate’s degree in sixty (60) months as opposed to twenty-eight (28) months. It is not uncommon for DACA and undocumented students to take a longer time to complete their postsecondary education due to the financial complications we face.
The University of Michigan is requiring a total of $106,000 to complete my education. I have to pay the remaining balance of $26,700 for the fall semester of 2018 and $80,000 for the three (3) remaining semesters. As a student activist and leader, I along with others challenged the Residency Policy and successfully had it changed from 28 months to 40 months. This new change in policy however still did not benefit my situation. I have tried everything in my power to fix my current situation to be able to stay, however, I am still considered an out-of-state student. My dream of becoming a Michigan graduate and architect is on hold due to the financial burden rooting from University’s Residency Policy. I am determined to obtain my bachelor’s in architecture and a master's in urban planning so that I can change the policies that negatively affect marginalized communities. I am vigorously working on scholarship applications and organizing fundraisers to help cover my tuition to continue my education at the University of Michigan.
This is a challenge I was not expecting to face, but it will not be one to stop me from achieving my goals. Regardless of my situation, I still consider myself a proud Wolverine and I hope to be able to continue my educational journey with your support.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and forever Go Blue!
With much love and gratitude,
- Evelyn Reyes
- Nicole Jarecki
- linda renfroe
Ann Arbor, MI