Undocumented students don’t have the same opportunities to access higher education as their peers. Without a valid social security number, these students are ineligible for federally funded aid, and in many states do not qualify for in-state tuition at public school.
These students are no less qualified than their peers, but continuing education after high school is often not an option financially.
Illinois currently has a state mandated, yet privately funded scholarship program for these students, the Illinois Dream Fund. These scholarships need to be expanded. More states must adopt this program and they must be better funded than the Dream Fund. Last year, the first year of the scholarship, they received over 1,500 applicants. There is no doubt that students are eager to access this money, to continue their education. This is just one state and they don’t have nearly enough money to finance all these students.
The Dream Fund needs to exist beyond Illinois; it needs to continue to be funded and done so in a sustainable way that reaches out to the largest number of students possible.