Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., more than a million of them are now college-aged but arrived as children. They have been educated in the U.S. , and many aspire to go to college. While current restrictions prevent them from accessing federal financial aid and in-state tuition rates, there are efforts to help level the playing field. During the mark-up process of S. 744, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an amendment from Sen. Mazie Hirono to allow undocumented immigrants with registered provisional immigrant status to qualify for certain types of financial aid. The original version of the amendment, Hirono 21, included all forms of tuition assistance, but the committee approved a second degree amendment Hirono offered that limits it to specific federal student loans and work-study programs, not Pell Grants. At the same time, several states are taking steps to allow undocumented immigrants living in that state to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities instead of requiring them to pay out-of-state rates. The costs of college can make the different between attending or not. Some also argue giving any access to college or financial aid to undocumented students is unfair to other college students.
Are these steps that provide more equal access to some forms financial aid and in-state tuition (in some states) a good idea?
Can we afford not to educate thousands of kids on their way to citizenship?