Emory University, the Atlanta, Georgia-based private higher education institution, is aiming to help undocumented, illegal immigrants with the cost of a college education. The university is rolling out a program that will start this fall in which it will pay 100 percent of the financial aid needs of undocumented students.
The College Fix first spotted the program which is open to all undocumented students both with and without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, or DACA, status. In order to be eligible for the financial aid funds, the student must demonstrate a financial need, have graduated from a U.S. high school, and be in the first year of his or her degree-seeking undergraduate program.
On its Website, Emory said that it will provide “100 percent of demonstrated financial need for undergraduate Undocumented Students (with or without DACA) who are admitted as first-year, first-degree-seeking students, and who graduated from a U.S. High school through a combination of grants and scholarships, institutional work study (DACA students only), and institutional loans. Undocumented Students without DACA status may receive an institutional loan in place of the typical work study award.” Emory also said that the program is effective as of the fall of 2017, and international students are excluded from the financial aid program.
This is an interesting move when taking into account the debt levels of Emory’s graduates. According to recent research from LendEDU, the average graduate of Emory University owes $26,983, which is lower than the national average currently standing around $28,000. Of the graduates from Emory University, 41 percent owe at least one loan.
The move on the part of Emory to help illegal immigrant students comes at a time when President Donald Trump is getting tough on illegal immigration by picking up deportation efforts. Trump has also vowed to defund sanctuary cities or those that pledge to shield illegal immigrants from deportation and other actions from the federal government. The actions by and overall media reaction to the Trump Administration have spread fear throughout immigrant communities for students protected under the DACA program.
In an interview with The College Fix, Megan McRainey, a spokeswoman for Emory, said that the move to cover 100 percent of the financial needs of undocumented students aligns with the private college’s values. These values call for welcoming students, faculty, and staff from all walks of life. Commenting on the criticism that Emory is a so-called sanctuary campus for illegal immigrants, she claimed that the school isn’t seeking to establish a sanctuary campus, noting there is no legal definition for that term.
“Emory adheres to all applicable laws and will continue to do so,” said McRainey, noting that the school respects “the authority of government officials who are performing their legal duties.” Back in February, the Emory Wheel reported that more than 200 faculty members at the university urged the school’s President Claire E. Sterk to designate the college as a so-called sanctuary campus. Additionally, they urged for a policy to be put in the books protecting undocumented students’ rights. That marked the third request this year by faculty members at the university that called on the school to do more for illegal immigrant students.
Author: Andrew Rombach
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