Last session Minnesota Legislators ushered in a new law that allows undocumented students to take advantage of state grants, in-state tuition and even private scholarships. The Star Tribune reports that experts of the new law were at Augsburg College on Monday to explain to undocumented students if they qualified or not.
During both election campaigns President Barack Obama made the following immigration promises to the American voters: He would create secure boarders, improve our immigration system, remove incentives to enter illegally, bring people out of the shadows and work with Mexico. Has he kept any of these promises?
The main criteria of the law is that undocumented students must have attended Minnesota high school for three years and have graduated or have a G.E.D. Male undocumented students are required to register for selective service and all applicants must be able to show prove that they have applied for lawful immigration statues with the federal government.
Filling for financial aid is a complicated process for a documented resident of the U.S. Being undocumented makes the process even more complicated. Ginny Dodds, of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, encouraged the group by telling them "Don't give up...if you have a question, give us a call." Minnesota joins Texas, California, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maryland who also have a state version of the "Dream Act."
Undocumented students will be eligible for state grants, but federal grants will still be off limits. Supporters of the new Minnesota law hope that the state effort will be a catalyst for federal reform. The bottom line is that the state resources, that being made available for the undocumented students, will help them pay for college. Advocates also believe it will encourage more of them to apply. "There has never been a bigger incentive to stay in school, graduate and go on to college than now," said Juve Meza. Meza is a volunteer with the Citizens League and helped with the organizing of the event.
In early August, the Star Tribune reported that nine activist were arrested in Nogales, Arizona, because they illegally crossed the borders from Mexico into the U.S. They made the boarder crossing in protest against America's immigration policy. The "Dream 9," as they were later dubbed, also wanted to bring attention to the hundreds and thousands of individuals who have been deported during Pres. Obama's administration.
State officials are expecting that 500 to 800 undocumented students will apply for the aid that has been made available for them under the new Minnesota law. The application has been available online for a week now and 50 undocumented students have already applied.