Campus leaders support bill for undocumented students

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Ana Ruiz with the shoes she painted to wear in the Nov. 11 walk for Student ACCESS. Photo: R. Glass

 

Campus and political leaders and students will show support for proposed legislation to make higher education accessible to undocumented students at a press conference Nov. 11.

The bill, Student Access to College and Career-Education for Statewide Success (ACCESS), would make undocumented students eligible for state-funded scholarships and tuition waivers at four-year public universities.

Students who are not citizens or permanent residents cannot receive state-funded financial aid.

The bill recognizes the struggle of undocumented students who want to get an education but can’t afford it, says student Jocelyn Munguia, program coordinator and social media chair for the Fearless Undocumented Alliance at UIC.

“Some of my friends have been forced to drop out of UIC because of financial barriers temporarily, others are still unable to return at all.”

Students decorate shoes for a walk in support of undocumented students.

Students decorate shoes for a press conference and campus walk in support of financial aid for undocumented students. Photo: R. Glass

Munguia said the bill’s legislation would make a big difference.

“This would help students like myself enroll and complete their college courses, graduate and join the workforce at a faster rate,” she said.

Among those expected to attend are University President Timothy Killeen, Chancellor Michael Amiridis, Rep. Lisa Hernandez and Sen. Iris Martinez.

“University leaders and students are going to take part to inform the university community and the Chicago community about the initiative to launch the bill in the spring of 2016,” said Amalia Pallares, director of the Latin American and Latino studies program.

The press conference begins at 1:30 p.m. in 302 Student Center East, followed by a student-led walk to the quad.

“Everyone should have access to an education,” Pallares said.

The UIC campaign for the bill is sponsored by the Latino Cultural Center, Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, the Heritage Garden Student Group and Fearless Undocumented Alliance.

For more information, call 312-996-3095 or email studentaccessil@gmail.com.

Editor’s note: the press conference location has been updated.