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Mass. College Extends Financial Aid to Undocumented Students

A private college in Western Massachusetts has created a fund to award financial aid to undocumented students. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has details…

Illegal immigrants in Massachusetts are required to pay the out-of-state tuition price if they enroll in college, but now Hampshire College, located in Amherst, MA, has decided to provide financial aid for incoming undocumented students. Margaret Cerullo, a sociology professor from the college who worked on the fund, said that the endowment sends the message that education is a right for all people.

Cerullo said that the money came from donations from alumni, parents, and other donors. She said the money came quickly and enthusiastically.

Renata Teodoro of the Student Immigrant Movement - a coalition of young undocumented individuals advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, says that Hampshire College’s example as a private university extending financial aid to undocumented students provides hope for thousands of young illegal residents.

Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition says that the move by Hampshire College will allow the best and the brightest of all backgrounds to achieve in higher education.

Currently, undocumented students cannot receive in-state tuition in Massachusetts. However, several states have passed laws allowing illegal aliens to pursue a higher education at an in-state rate, including New York. Massachusetts and many other states such as New Hampshire, and New Jersey have introduced legislation to make the change.

In June, President Obama announced that he would not deport illegal aliens who came to the United States with their parents as children, as long as they meet certain educational requirements.

Margaret Cerullo said that the fund is already helping at least one undocumented student attend classes this Fall.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.