UA student gov to propose scholarship fund for DACA students
The University of Arizona’s student body president is currently drafting legislation that would provide scholarships to DACA students funded in part by the student government.
Student Body President Matt Lubisich—who previously claimed that he had been misquoted by the school newspaper when it reported his statement that he was “trying to find ways to work around” state law in order to provide financial aid to students who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—discussed the as-yet unfinished proposal during a recent student government meeting that was live-streamed online.
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Lubisich is currently working on a resolution to use part of the ASUA budget, as well as donations from private donors, to provide a scholarship fund for DACA students attending the university.
DACA students are not eligible to receive in-state tuition or state-funded financial aid per Arizona state law, though the Maricopa County Community College District has been using DACA status as proof of residency in order to do just that, prompting a court battle that is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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While the exact details of Lubisch’s proposal have yet to be finalized, the idea is already receiving pushback from some within student government, including Alex Relich, a student senator who represents the College of Social and Behavioral Science.
“I feel that it discriminates against all of the international and out-of-state-students on campus,” Relich told Campus Reform.
“The primary argument in favor of this proposal is that these DACA students had no control over the fact that they were born in a foreign country and then brought to the United States,” he noted. “This is certainly true, and I certainly sympathize with these students. However, to offer either in state tuition as the ABOR has suggested, or to offer additional scholarships to these DACA students is unfair and discriminatory to the rest of the students at our school.”
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“The simple fact is that none of us get to choose where we are born. There are plenty of out-of-state students who had no control over the fact that they were born in California or Oregon. Yet, by virtue of where they were a resident, the school charges them more in tuition,” he pointed out. “When we decide that these DACA student deserve additional special treatment in this critical manner of funding, we are really creating an unfairly privileged class of one type of student that elevates them above all the other out of state and international students.”
During last week’s Student Senate meeting, Lubisich said the plan for the scholarship is “working it’s way up the rank to be created” and it is “still ongoing,” adding that “faculty and…members of the presidential cabinet of the university” are involved as well.
When reached for comment, Lubisich told Campus Reform that “ASUA is not trying to go against any state law” by earmarking state monies for the initiative.
“State law will be followed accordingly,” he vowed. “We are looking toward private donations to support students, our constituents and peers, in their continuing education on our campus.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @shannadnelson