Freedom Univ. works around Georgia policies to offer ‘free tuition’ to illegal immigrants
A self-proclaimed university in Georgia known as “Freedom University” is working around state university policies to provide illegal immigrants with college educations.
In 2011, the Board of Regents for the university system of Georgia passed two new policies preventing illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition and entering state schools.
Policy 4.1.6 bans a “person who is not lawfully present in the United States” from being admitted to any school in the state system. Policy 4.3.4 requires all successful applicants to verify their “lawful presence” in the United States before attending any of Georgia’s top public institutions.
The same year, after the new policies were passed, a group of four female professors founded “Freedom University” in order to provide illegal immigrants “with college courses equivalent to those taught at the state’s most selective universities.”
“We provide rigorous college-level classes, scholarship assistance, and leadership development for undocumented students in Georgia,” the organization’s website states.
Many of the “rigorous college-level classes,” however, are “college preparation” courses rather than “college-level” courses, according to the organization’s course catalog. The catalog shows that at least one course per year, often two, is a class focusing on strategies for taking standardized admissions tests. Other courses are devoted to teaching students how to write college application essays, suggesting the proclaimed “college-level” courses are in fact courses to prepare students for college.
In addition, the organization doubles as a student activist group working to promote equality on college campuses.
Last year, 9 students at “Freedom University” were arrested for organizing what they called an “integrated classroom” at the University of Georgia. The nine students along with nearly 30 student allies refused to leave a classroom on the University of Georgia’s campus after the building closed.
“Taking away education based on documentation status is just another form of systematic oppression. It echoes Jim Crow racial segregation and all other types of ‘legal’ discrimination, but this time towards a different racial minority than America is used to confronting,” one student involved in the protest said.
In April, students and faculty of “Freedom University” concluded an 8-month campus campaign called “Freedom at Emory” after Emory University announced it would admit undocumented students and offer scholarships to those who are academically-qualified.
The school offers students a “tuition free” education that is funded on donations. According to the school’s donations webpage, “Freedom University is a non-profit organization under the fiscal sponsorship of Southerners on New Ground,” which identifies as a “Queer Liberation organization” that seeks to “transform the south.”
In August, the school opened its doors for its fifth year of educating undocumented students. According to a press release announcing the start of the new year, the location of “Freedom University” classes is confidential “for student safety and protection.”
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