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Unauthorized students do qualify for many college scholarships

One of the main issues for America’s DREAMers is access educational opportunities. The problem is that many unauthorized immigrants to the U.S. were brought here as young children. Even the harshest proponent of strict immigration enforcement can’t argue that these kids had any role in violating U.S. law. Moreover, once they graduate from high school, most have lived in the U.S. for virtually their entire lives.

These young people feel and behave like Americans, and it’s to everyone’s benefit that they have the chance to pursue educational opportunities and leverage them here at home. The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy helped by allowing many unauthorized young people who arrived in the U.S. before age 16 to apply for a renewable, two-year immigrant status that confers work eligibility and protection from deportation.

Yet many unauthorized migrants still don’t qualify for resident tuition levels at their own state universities -- even under DACA. That’s changing -- as of May, 17 states had laws or policies granting in-state tuition for otherwise-qualifying unauthorized immigrants. Unfortunately, North Carolina is not yet among them.

With college increasingly expensive, especially without in-state tuition, it’s crucial for DREAMers to know that they do qualify for many scholarship programs and that many colleges and universities grant financial aid without regard to immigration status.

These are by no means limited to scholarships specially intended for DREAMers. A group called Educators for Fair Consideration, or E4FC, compiles an updated booklet of available scholarships and higher education institutions with financial aid policies that don’t discriminate against unauthorized migrant students. You can find a free download of that booklet and find links to other lists of such scholarships at E4FC’s website.

To qualify for DACA relief, you must have arrived in the U.S. before age 16, lived here continuously since at least June 15, 2007, be no older than about 32, be attending or a graduate of from high school or equivalent, and have no felony convictions, among other requirements. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or an immigration lawyer can answer any questions you may have.

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