Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Janice B. Fournillier

Second Advisor

Deron Boyles

Third Advisor

Patricia Carter

Fourth Advisor

Joyce King

Fifth Advisor

Rodney Lyn


Research interrogating the development, implementation and enforcement of reactionary and conservative social and educational movements and policies has enabled us to show the con- tradictions and unequal effects and the disproportionate and disparate impacts on the lives of mi- nority students (Apple, 2009). This research study examined how the Board of Regents, Geor- gia’s higher education governing body, interprets and enforces the “lawful presence” require- ment set forth in USG Policy 4.1.6. The study gave primary consideration to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, who the data show have been systematically excluded from access to certain state colleges and universities without legal cause or justification.

The study also examined the perceived impacts of Policy 4.1.6 on DACA students seek- ing admission to the state’s most selective colleges and universities. Data collected from partici- pant interviews of DACA students, along with data gathered through participant observation and documents analysis, were used to create a greater understanding of the impacts of Policy 4.1.6 on

both DACA and undocumented students. The study is significant because it traverses matters of current legal import, while also contributing to the growing body of literature concerning access to postsecondary education for undocumented students. Using the methodological approach of critical theory, the study incorporated elements of critical race theory (CRT), critical Latino/a studies (LatCrit), and critical policy analysis in the exploration of the various narratives and counternarratives created by the enforcement of Policy 4.1.6. Using Interpretive Phenomenologi- cal Analysis (IPA) of the interview data, a critical assessment of the perceived impacts of Geor- gia immigration and education policy development and implementation is also provided. Finally, this study revealed the ways in which ‘race-neutral’ educational policies result in discriminatory practices against minorities, specifically undocumented students, the majority of who are Lati- no/a. The knowledge gained from this research gives policymakers on either side of this issue with analysis that can more effectively guide them in the interpretation of federal mandates and conflicting state laws that result in the subordination of significant segments of student popula- tions.