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Fee increase for scholarships for undocumented approved

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Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., has approved a $2 increase to the quarterly student activity fee to fund a scholarship for undocumented students at DePaul. The referendum, shepherded through by a collaborative group of student organizations, including the Student Government Association (SGA) and Undocumented Vincentians & Allies (UVA), was overwhelmingly passed with 1,684 votes in favor and 302 against.

Following Holtschneider’s approval, the Office of Student Affairs will work with financial aid and other departments across the university to work out the implementation, administration and criteria for the fund. UVA, which proposed and garnered support for the referendum, says that vote was intended to be a local, grassroots response to the wave of xenophobia currently sweeping the country.

The UndocuScholars Project estimates up to two percent of the college population in the United States isundocumented, and the cost differences between those who can file for federal financial aid and those who can’t can be massive, sums up to $17,000.

The total tuition increase of $6 a year was seen as a small price to pay for the opportunity to help less fortunate college hopefuls who are ineligible for the federal financial aid that most students rely on to pay for college tuition.

The reception of the referendum results was not universally well received, however. The DePaul College Republicans said they didn’t want the university to “force us to pay money for something we inherently disagree with,” and encouraged DePaul to consider letting students choose whether or not they want to contribute to the fund.

The DePaul Socialists thought the university didn’t go far enough to support and defend undocumented students.

They say DePaul should consider committing $100 for every $1 increase to the student activities fee, and by not going farther, the university administrators “demonstrate an unwillingness to match the student body’s desire to show solidarity with undocumented students.”

In 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois DREAM Act into law, which provides education resources to undocumented students at the state level. The DREAM Act is designed to make scholarships, college savings, and prepaid tuition programs available for undocumented Illinois students who graduated from public high schools.

The scholarship will officially be available in the fall quarter, provided there are no hiccups in its implementation.   

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Fee increase for scholarships for undocumented approved