Undocumented Students

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Undocumented Students

Undocumented immigrants are foreign nationals who enter the United States without authorization or enter legally but remain in the United States without authorization. Undocumented youth and students usually have no role in the decision to come to this country; they are usually brought to this country by their parents or relatives. Brought by their parents to the U.S. as minors, many before they had reached their teens, they account for about one sixth of the total undocumented population. The United States Census Bureau estimates that in the year 2000, approximately 2.5 million undocumented youth under the age of eighteen were living in the United States. Some 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools each year. Illegal through no fault of their own, many undocumented students are honor students, athletes, student leaders, and potential professionals. As a result of their immigration status, these young people face more struggles than documented students, when looking to continue their education after high school. Struggles include not being eligible for federal money and not being legally able to obtain employment upon graduation. There is a conflict between Federal and State law regarding the eligibility of undocumented students for in-state tuition rates. Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 prohibits illegal aliens from receiving in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education. State and federal grants are awarded only to U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. To apply for a federal or state grant, one must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which requires the student’s social security number. Federal student loans are also not available to undocumented students. Most high school seniors rely on federal money as most of their financial aid for college. Students see their peers receiving federal financial aid and do...
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