For high school students who are also undocumented immigrants, the path to a college education is one that is often fraught with anxiety, confusion and frustration.
In Florida and most other states, undocumented students must pay much-higher out-of-state tuition to attend college, and certain key sources of financial aid, such as federal Pell Grants, are off-limits. Proposed federal legislation — known as the DREAM Act — that would offer in-state tuition and other benefits to these students has been stalled in Congress for years.
The College Board, meanwhile, has been a staunch supporter of the DREAM Act. Though the College Board can’t compel Congress to do anything legislatively, the organization on Thursday released a resource guide for undocumented students that it hopes will help them navigate the confusing array of state laws and institutional rules that are now in place.
“We see this as a first step,” said James Montoya, vice president of relationship development at The College Board, which is hosting a three-day conference in Miami this week to focus on issues and obstacles facing Hispanic students.
The resource guide for undocumented students, Montoya said, will serve as a “living document” that will be continuously updated and improved going forward.
Much of the resource guide is focused on providing state-by-state breakdowns of the rules allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition — a policy followed in 14 U.S. states. The guide explains the various requirements undocumented students need to fulfill before they can qualify for the tuition price break, such as attending a high school in that state for a minimum number of years.
For some states, the guide also includes sample forms similar to those undocumented students must fill out to qualify for in-state tuition. States typically require students to sign a sworn statement that they will pursue citizenship at the earliest opportunity, for example.
The target audience for the guide is not just parents and students, but also high school guidance counselors and college administrators who may at times field questions from families.
For Florida students, the guide offers no road map to in-state tuition, as Florida public universities and colleges are barred under state law from offering that discounted price to anyone who cannot prove legal residency in the United States. Still, the College Board guide can be of some use for Florida undocumented students, as it also includes a list of scholarship organizations that award aid to non-citizens.
“Yes, the situation is not easy, but it’s not a hopeless situation,” said Irma Archuleta, a vice president at California’s Evergreen Valley College who traveled to Miami for this week’s College Board conference.
Though Florida charges out-of-state tuition to undocumented students, Archuleta said there are still actions that the states’ public colleges can take to make college more accessible to this group. For example, schools can let students pay off their hefty tuition bill through monthly payment plans, or create a lending library of textbooks to help students who can’t afford to buy their own texts.
The College Board’s guide was immediately blasted by those who advocate a hard-line immigration stance. Bob Dane, a spokesman for the Washington-based Federation For American Immigration Reform, called the document a “half-baked idea” that ignores current law making it illegal to hire undocumented workers, even those holding a college degree.
“It’s a tacit wink and a nod to game the system when and where you can,” Dane said.
But at a Thursday evening College Board educational workshop held at Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, UCLA administrator Alfred Herrera defended helping undocumented students, saying they represent some of the “best and brightest.”
“We need to build a support network,” Herrera said. “The reality is there are a lot of people out there, across the country, fighting to help immigrant students.”
The College Board guide can be viewed online here.
A student saw what were believed to be first-year pledges performing a racial caricature, mowing the lawn in front of the Alpha Delta Phi (Alpha Delt) fraternity house wearing oversized sombreros while Latin music played from a stereo
“DU Presents: Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes [sic],” which in its description encouraged attendees to bring “an unlimited need to conquer, spread disease, and enslave natives.”
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicago De Aztlán? Uh….. que?
Can y’all please talk about this at Statewide this weekend. This conversation about frats and sororities needs to happen. As uncomfortable as it may get, this shit is dividing our community.
Mexico’s former ruling party, the PRI, distanced itself from disgraced former governor Tomas Yarrington, saying on Wednesday that he will be suspended from the organization, until he clears up allegations that he received bribes from a drug cartel.
Yarrington was governor of the northeastern Tamaulipas state from 1999 to 2004. He is currently under investigation in Mexico and the United States for links to the once powerful Gulf Cartel.
I saw this on facebook, and at first I thought that it was so sad, one of our Raza grads passed away just DAYS just after graduating. I started to read the article, and I saw that it was Milanca, a girl I met through a Chicana/Latina Feminist literature class. We always did our group discussions and projects together, and she was one of the smartest, sweetest girls I ever met. I even had the wonderful opportunity to meet her little boy. I remember seeing her walk the stage on graduation barely a week ago, her little boy at her side, dressed in his own graduation gown. I’m still having a hard time believing she’s gone…
What makes me so sad is that she had so much potential, and she left her little boy behind. She worked so hard through community college and then through Cal (She double majored in Chicano studies and Social Welfare). She was going to be someone important. Milanca had big dreams and the ambition to reach her goals. And it was taken away in an instant..
Please keep her and her son, Xavier, in your prayers.
The adults around you may not appear to support you when you take your humanity to its logical religious conclusions. Do not let them off the hook. Do not let them use “tradition” as an excuse or say it “really doesn’t matter.” Do not allow them to get away with asking you to “sit out games,” “be a good girl,” “don’t make a fuss,” and “put something on.” These are micro-aggressions that result in macro-aggressions. Adults often don’t think these things through. Sometimes it’s scary to them, too.
You can say: “There is nothing wrong with me. There is something wrong with you and your world.”
As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, Which Way Home shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.
The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call “The Beast.” Director Rebecca Cammisa(Sister Helen) tracks the stories of children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year-old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota, and Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and focuses on Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow.
They are the ones you never hear about – the invisible ones.