1,600 illegal alien college students file for Washington State financial aid

Samantha Reinis
Campus Reform Intern

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  • The Washington legislature passed the Real Hope Act earlier this year, which grants illegal aliens the right to apply for state financial aid.
  • Eighteen states allow in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, including Washington.
  • More than 1,600 illegal alien college students have filed for Washington State’s new financial aid form in order to fund their education.

    In February, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Real Hope Act, a law granting illegal aliens the right to apply for state financial aid for college, but it remained unclear how many would actually sign up for the program until estimates were released last week.

    In order to apply for this financial aid, however, the students must promise to file for citizenship as soon as they are able to apply.   

    “We know how many students have filed the application, which is over 1,600 students to date, we don’t know how many of those students will enroll, be admitted, be awarded by the institution,” said Rachelle Sharp, the Senior Director of Student Financial Affairs at the Washington Achievement Council.

    Sharp told Campus Reform that “$5 million was provided to the funding, making the program $308 million overall.”

    Washington is one of eighteen states that allow in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, but this measure goes even further with providing state funds to supplement financial aid packages.

    In order to apply for this financial aid, however, the students must promise to file for citizenship as soon as they are able to apply.

    The form requires applicants to write “1” for “yes” or “2” for “no” if they accept the statement “I will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States as soon as I am eligible to apply. I am also willing to engage in activities designed to prepare me for citizenship, including citizenship and civics review courses. I certify or declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington that the foregoing information is true and correct.”

    “I think it’s important to remember that [the] State Need Grant follows the same rules that are used for determining in-state tuition, and so that process has been in place in this state since 2003, and that includes the affidavit process and the documentation of residency,” Sharp said.

    Research shows that illegal aliens are three times more likely to drop out of college than other students, which may be partly attributed to finances.

    However, legislators argued that this sudden toll on the state financial aid system from including these students would make it harder for all students to get financial aid.

    So far, 323 illegal alien students have completed the paperwork for the financial aid in order to attend either the University of Washington or Washington State University, both of which cost around $27,000 annually.

    Last year, before the inclusion of the illegal alien students, more than 100,000 students qualified for State Need Grant funds, but only around 70 percent were actually given money.

    Via The Seattle Times.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @samantha_reinis

    Samantha Reinis

    Samantha Reinis

    Campus Reform Intern

    Samantha Reinis is an intern with Campus Reform. She is currently a senior studying Political Science with a minor in Philosophy at Clemson University. Samantha is currently the Editor in Chief of Clemson University’s conservative publication, The Tiger Town Observer. 

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