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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Financial Resources for Undocumented Students
Tracking the number of undocumented children in the U.S. is no easy feat. It is complicated by issues surrounding U.S. immigration policies, as well as the simple logistics of tracking human statistics-many of whom may be trying to live off the grid. But when the Obama administration recently instituted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Migration Policy Institute estimated that more than 1.9 million young people could qualify for relief under the program's terms.
Among the criteria that must be met by those seeking relief under the DACA program is the requirement that they be a full-time student-elementary, high school or college. Qualifying residents are granted legal residency status and the opportunity to work. For graduated high school students, this opportunity can also present problems. How to afford college tuition.
If you must "stay in school" in order to maintain your legal status, getting into-and paying for-college becomes a rather pressing endeavor, at least where money is an issue. Since most undocumented children also have undocumented parents, they are overwhelmingly poor.
Given their legal status, undocumented students cannot qualify for federal financial aid-an enormous resource for the vast majority of financial aid recipients. Fortunately, eighteen states in the U.S. allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at local universities. Considering the price-hikes for out-of-state tuition, this price difference could be a deal-breaker for many students.
In just five states-California, Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota and Washington, undocumented students can actually qualify for state-based financial aid packages. The problem, of course, is access to information. In an effort to make the process more transparent, the College Board has published a fairly comprehensive resource list for students seeking guidance.
Changes to immigration policy are constant and quick, but guides such as these are a good start. The College Board also offers links to resources assisting students in keeping up with current legislation:
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