Arizona college imposes optional fee to fund scholarship for undocumented students

Apr 8, 2016, 11:42 AM
(Photo: Rennett Stowe via Flickr - - Pho...
(Photo: Rennett Stowe via Flickr - - Photo has been cropped and enhanced.)
(Photo: Rennett Stowe via Flickr - - Photo has been cropped and enhanced.)

PHOENIX — In an effort to make attending school and pursuing a higher education a little easier, one Arizona college has added a fee to its annual tuition to fund a scholarship for undocumented students.

According to Fox News, Prescott College has imposed a $30 annual fee onto its $28,000 annual tuition. This fee will help establish an annual scholarship to help undocumented students attend the school.

However, the fee is not mandatory. Students can opt out of paying the fee if they want, but if they do nothing it will be automatically imposed.

The fee is part of a policy first proposed by students and faculty from the Social Justice and Human Rights Master of Arts divisions, according to the article.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, said in an interview with Fox News that the scholarship makes it harder for legal students to obtain an education.

“It is beyond absurd that this college is going to force all the students to subsidize the education of a student who is in the country illegally,” she said. “It’s a shame these students and faculty don’t have the same drive to help some of their fellow citizens who can’t afford college and who are forced to compete with illegal workers for job opportunities.”

On the other side of the fence, Miriel Manning, founder of the Freedom Education Fund and a student in Prescott College’s Social Justice and Human Rights Master of Arts program, said the scholarship will help Arizona, demonstrating a priority to help students obtain a higher education.

“Within the current political landscape of Arizona it is critical that Prescott College shows our commitment to education as a human right,” Manning said.

While it is legal for undocumented students to attend college in Arizona — whether they are state or private — doing so is often extremely expensive.

A May 2015 ruling made it possible for DREAMers, young immigrants who have been granted deferred deportation status by the Obama administration, to pay in-state tuition, but they usually cannot qualify for federal aid or obtain legal work.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Board of Regents recently approved tuition and fee rate hikes at all three Arizona public universities, Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, for the upcoming academic year.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs at least part-time and must demonstrate financial need, even for students who are set for deferred removal action under federal law.

They also must not be a legal permanent resident and cannot have a green card, visa or other legal documentation.

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Arizona college imposes optional fee to fund scholarship for undocumented students