Politics

Students Push Tuition Fee to Fund Illegal-Immigrant Scholarship

Activists want mandatory contributions for 'sanctuary campus' financial aid

Two student-based organizations at DePaul University in Chicago are partnering with the Student Government Association to organize a campus-wide referendum on a proposal to add a fee to general tuition in order to set up a scholarship fund for illegal immigrant students.

Undocumented Vincentian Allies (UVA) and Undocumented Student Movement (USM) are working with the SGA at the Catholic university in pushing for a $6 tuition increase for each student with the purpose of sustaining a scholarship fund.

“President Donald Trump’s rhetoric puts undocumented youth at fear of being deported.”

“Monday mornings at DePaul consist of waiting in a 15-minute line at the Bean all to savor a Caramel Crunch coffee before a 9:40 morning class,” The DePaulia student newspaper wrote Sunday. “But would you be willing to give up your caffeine intake for one Monday, if it meant an undocumented student could attend DePaul on a scholarship?”

The university had 23,539 registered students in 2015, according to the university’s website. If each were compelled to make the $6 contribution, it would raise roughly $141,234 for scholarships earmarked specifically for illegal immigrants.

Lamenting that “more and more undocumented youth are being limited in their options,” The DePaulia, the student newspaper, noted that “going to college becomes unattainable” because illegal immigrants are ineligible for the financial aid reserved for legal residents.

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“Many times undocumented students are juggling a full-time job while being a full-time student, in order to afford tuition. To top that off, President Donald Trump’s rhetoric puts undocumented youth at fear of being deported,” author Jocelyn Martinez-Rosales wrote in the paper. “Educating the youth, especially undocumented youth, is one of UVA’s focuses.”

The SGA voted unanimously in favor of holding the referendum, and the student body will consider the proposal during the May SGA elections. The students will need to pass the referendum by a greater than 50 percent margin before the resolution could be passed on to the board of trustees.

“Fear is setting us back on revealing our identities and staying true to ourselves,” Brenda Gonzalez, an undocumented DePaul student, told the paper. “We are a vulnerable community, but we have to remember that we are only vulnerable to our own fears.”

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The College Fix noted that the UVA group addressed a few negative comments on its Facebook page pertaining to the referendum before deleting the comments altogether Sunday night.

“In one response, UVA scolds those who use the term ‘illegal immigrants or illegal undocumented individuals,’ calling them ‘uninformed individuals that haven’t done research to understand how immigrant and undocumented populations should be addressed,'” The Fix found.

The DePaul College Republicans vehemently oppose the referendum, telling The Fix that sympathetic students “have learned nothing from our country’s most recent election.”

“Instead of using those tuition funds on actual legal American citizens, or perhaps even lowering tuition on the financially underwater student body … they have chosen to promote another left-wing mascot at the behest of their own students,” CR President John Minster told The Fix. “Our tuition money must not go to illegal aliens.”

DePaul students faced a recent tuition hike from administrators. Annual tuition for students is set to increase from $37,020 to $38,410 by the fall of 2017, according to the university’s website.

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