UI students want to make it even easier for illegal students to get state funds

After the state of Illinois recently passed an act allowing illegal immigrant students to obtain state financial aid, students at the University of Illinois want to make sure their illegal peers are trained in exactly how to do so.

The same training would be offered to draft-dodging transgender students, who are offered state aid under the same act.

Members of the University of Illinois student government are calling on their peers and the university to facilitate training for illegal students to assist them in obtaining financial aid.

Illinois recently passed the RISE act, which the university explains “allows state and institutional financial aid eligibility to a subset of students who were previously ineligible” for federal financial aid.  Two of the affected groups of students include illegal immigrant students and transgender students. Illegal students cannot obtain federal aid due to the lack of a social security number and transgender students are often ineligible because they do not register for selective service because of, for example, a biological male’s refusal to state that they are male and required to register for the draft.

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Nataly Esparza, junior at the University of Illinois and Undocu/DACA Mentor, introduced “Resolution 3.56: The RISE Act — Including and Uplifting” at a recent Illinois Student Government meeting. This was said to be in response to most students being unaware of the RISE Act. Esparza says this resolution will enable students to be informed “of what it is, what it does and who qualifies for it.” 

Informational meetings regarding the Rise Act will be hosted by Illinois Student Government (ISG) for illegal immigrant and transgender students. This is where they will learn about the opportunities created by the RISE Act and how to apply for state or institutional financial aid. This resolution would also set up a stand-alone time in a computer lab where students can be guided through the process of applying for financial aid. 

[RELATED: NJ handed away $3.8 MILLION to illegal immigrants for college]

The Committee on Financial Affairs will decide the appropriations to be afforded to Resolution 3.56, if any. The Helping Others Personal Excellence (HOPE) Department of ISG is currently working on an institutional scholarship that will be available in the upcoming semester for undocumented and transgender students only.

“The HOPE Scholarship is a commitment by students for students. This scholarship, funded by the HOPE fee... is specifically for students who do not qualify for federal financial aid,” Director of HOPE Arnoldo Ayala told Campus Reform. “This includes but is not limited to undocumented students, trans male students, and students with minor convictions.”

”Currently, there are 17 undergraduate scholarships, 5 graduate scholarships, and 3 supplemental in case of emergencies,” Ayala added.

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