Arizona College Asks Current Students To Pay For Illegal Immigrants Education

8:18 AM College Lawyer Blog 0 Comments

April 8th, 2016

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

An Arizona (AZ) college has taken steps to implement a new "fee" that is designed to help illegal immigrants. Prescott College, a private institution, has tacked on a $30 dollar fee on top of its $28,000 tuition in order to create a scholarship program for undocumented students in Arizona. In article on written by Malia Zimmerman, Zimmerman asserts that students can opt out of the fee but if they do nothing the fee will automatically be imposed.

Supporters of the program point out that illegal immigrants are currently allowed to attend both state and private college in Arizona. In most cases, however, these illegal immigrants cannot legally work or receive government aid. This creates a financial burden and serious problem for illegal immigrants looking to obtain higher education. The president of Prescott College, John Flicker, stands by the program. "I am proud that our students take on the role of scholar activists", Flicker said in the article with FoxNews. Prescott college is looking to "broaden access to higher education for a diverse group of students" and "mobilize its resources towards social justice".

Anti-Illegal Immigration advocates have aggressively spoken out against the program. Those advocating against the program argue that asking students to pay for illegal immigrants education is irresponsible. Andrew Kloster who works for the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at Heritage Foundation, calls it a slap in the face to make legal residents pay for the education of illegal residents.  Kloster went on to add "While the dollar amount seems small per student, the fee does send a message to potential donors to Prescott College that administration is less concerned with sound financial management than it is with making a political statement (Kloster).

At a time where student loan debt is over $1 trillion it does seem unfair to ask current students to add to their debt in order to be "a good person". Why should current students be saddled with extra debt when the students they are helping are illegally receiving education? Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center of Immigration studies, is asking the same questions. Vaughan believes the poor students in the country legally should take precedence over the illegal immigrants. In the article with FoxNews Vaughan said, "It's a shame these students and faculty don't the the same drive to help some of their fellow citizens who can't afford college and who are forced to compete with illegal works for job opportunities" (Vaughan).

According to Prescott College, Arizona has an estimated 65,000 undocumented high school graduates in the state. Of those 65,000 students as many as 6,500 are hoping to pursue higher education. Prescott College maintains that undocumented students are not expressly prohibited by law from admission to state colleges and universities and no federal statues require disclosure and proof of immigration status and citizenship for students to enter higher education. This viewpoint from Prescott College directly relates to their fundamental belief the education is a human right.

The program, which is expected to be expanded at the beginning of next year, requires that applicants are not a legal permanent resident and they may not possess any legal documentation such as a green card or visa. There is only one other school in the nation with a similar program -- Chicago's Loyola University, where students pay an extra $2.50 to a tuition fund for illegal immigrants.

Tyler Webb
Editor-In-Chief, CLB
Senior Law Clerk, Levitt Law Firm 


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