U. of Ill. wants illegal immigrants to receive state financial aid

Students residing in the country illegally don’t have many places to go when it comes to financial aid in college, but the University of Illinois is reportedly working to change that.

The University of Illinois is now looking to back legislation that would allow the state to give financial aid to illegal immigrants. President Robert Easter stated that the University will “carry forward to direct change on the issue”in a meeting in October according to an article in The Daily Illini.

Students living illegally in the U.S. are able to enroll in universities in Illinois so long as they have lived with their parents in Illinois for three years or attended an Illinois high school. Legislation passed in 2003 allows them to receive in-state tuition but not financial aid.

Kristy Kambanis, the assistant to the vice provost for diversity for the Chicago campus, says she is working with a task force to work towards financial aid opportunities for such students.

“They’ve put draft language forward for an amendment to that bill, and that’s been submitted for final wording,” Kambanis told The Daily Illini.

Amalia Pallares, co-chair of the Undocumented Student Task Force, told the paper that “[u]ndocumented students have no access to federal funds, and we can’t change that until there’s a new immigration law at the federal level, but state legislators have the authority to decide how much state funding undocumented students have access to.”

Alberto Valdivieso, a student from the Chicago area, said that conditions for students illegally living in the U.S. are alienating as they currently stand.

“It’s really because you don’t know where to go, you don’t know who to contact,” he told The Daily Illini. “Especially because people who are undocumented are of a lower socioeconomic status, we don’t know people who went to college, our parents didn’t attend a university or do schooling in this country, so the whole process is very foreign.”

The Illinois Student Senate is currently reviewing a resolution that would support such legislation, but it’s currently tabled. However, it will be revisited soon according to Matt Hill, the Student Senate’s vice president.

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