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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

U.S. Colleges Say Illegal Immigrants Should Be Eligible for More Financial Assistance

April 21, 2009 | Rob

U.S. colleges are breaking their silence on immigration, urging Congress to allow students who are illegal immigrants to apply for financial aid and qualify for in-state tuition, the Associated Press reports.

In a report released Tuesday, the U.S. College Board, which is best known for heading up the SAT program but also consists of 5,000 colleges, is also asking that Congress provide illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

The report marks the first time the College Board has officially weighed in on the thorny issue, and came in response to how some states are taking steps to bar illegal immigrants from paying in-state tuition.

Illegal immigrants are entitled to attend American public K-12 schools. But in many states, those who go on to achieve high marks do not qualify for paying in-state tuition, even if they are class presidents and valedictorians.

Since 2006, four states -- Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona -- have made illegal immigrants ineligible for in-state tuition, according to the Christian Science Monitor. South Carolina went one step further, barring illegal immigrants from enrolling in its public colleges altogether. North Carolina has done the same at its community colleges.

However, at least 10 states this decade have passed legislation making illegal immigrants eligible for in-state tuition. One of the states, California, is currently considering a bill that would also make them eligible for financial aid.

The House and Senate are considering bills that would grant illegal immigrants who came to this country when they were 15 or younger and have lived here at least five years the ability to obtain conditional legal status after graduating high school, according to A.P. Called the Dream Act, this would make them eligible for in-state college tuition rates and federal financial aid.

Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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