Mexican-American Students' Alliance

Promoting Higher Education

Text Box: 230 Alexander Ave. 
Bronx NY 10454

Text Box: To contact us:


      MASA is an organization composed of students from various colleges in New York, and we are working together to promote education in the Mexican community. As students, we try to be role models for younger Mexicans, who may not see themselves finishing school. We work with Professor Smith’s organization, Mex-Ed, which also focuses on promoting higher education for Mexicans. Professor Smith is an expert on migration and education for Mexicans. He has directed studies on these issues, funded by the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education and other institutions, and has worked with Mexican community organizations for twenty years on these issues.

      MASA was formed in the fall of 2001 to fight against CUNY’s attempt to raise tuition for undocumented students. Previously, undocumented students were permitted to pay in-state tuition rates, since many of them have resided in New York for most of their lives, and will continue to reside in New York after they graduate. After CUNY decided to change its policy, undocumented students would have been made to pay significantly more, which would have meant that most of them would have been unable to afford to continue their education. Specifically, at CUNY's senior colleges, New York residents pay $3,200 per year, compared with $6,800 per year for students from outside the state.

      MASA decided to fight to preserve the right of undocumented students to get a higher education and to improve themselves. MASA gathered together with professors such as Professor Smith and students of various backgrounds to conduct a series of protests, and to hold a three-day hunger strike at the headquarters of the CUNY’s trustees. We also were involved in lobbying for new legislation to preserve the traditional in-state tuition rate for undocumented students at New York City and State colleges. In August of 2002, Governor George Pataki signed this bill into law. Students and professors such as myself, a student at Baruch College, and Professor Robert Smith, who teaches at Baruch College, worked hard with courage to make it possible for thousands of undocumented students to pursue the American Dream. 

      MASA and MexEd have worked closely on a variety of issues. MASA and MexEd have organized a variety of community and educational programs, among the most successful of which have been CUNY workshops that offer both information on how to apply to CUNY and direct support from CUNY admissions officials in filling out the forms and managing the paperwork. More than 1000 people have attended these events, and we estimate that some 300 have registered with CUNY as a result. MASA and MexEd have also initiated mentorship programs with high school students, with MexEd working in two public schools and MASA working in space provided at a community center in a Catholic church in the Bronx. We seek to further our collaboration and mutual goals by combining forces again on the Mexican Mentorship Project. 

        Currently, MASA is working at St. Jerome Church in the Bronx, providing free mentoring programs for students from first to twelfth grade for disadvantaged kids that cannot afford to pay for private tutors. MASA is also preparing students in high school for the SAT test for free. We also want to teach our mentees about the importance of youth leadership, and how they can contribute to their community. At the same time, MASA is providing Free ESL (English as a Second Language) for hard working immigrants.

       We also work with other Mexican groups, for example through co-organizing an educational forum that brought together community leaders, labor union activists, scholars and politicians from the New York State area to discuss issues affecting Mexicans in New York