ASU scholarships for illegal
immigrants being revived
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 03.06.2008
PHOENIX — Private donors are trying to revive a controversial scholarship that benefited Arizona State University students who are in the country illegally.
The special scholarship's funding ran out for the 2008-09 school year but ASU officials say they're working with a third-party group to provide scholarship money.
ASU President Michael Crow said it's his hope that enough money will be available to cover the estimated 200 to 300 students who have to pay higher, out-of-state tuition as a result of changes in state law.
University officials are advising those students to go ahead and register for fall courses.
A fund called the American Dream Fund Coalition has been set up and is being maintained by the nonprofit group Chicanos Por La Causa.
Crow estimates the cost at about $3 million a year, adding that the money will come from private sources and not state funding.
For the past year, 207 undocumented immigrants who graduated from Arizona high schools have received private scholarship money through the ASU Foundation.
The scholarships started after the voter-approved Proposition 300 took effect in late 2006 — requiring illegal immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition at the state's universities and community colleges.
Out-of-state tuition and fees are about $17,000 a year at ASU while the in-state amount is nearly $5,000.
The law also prevents illegal immigrants from receiving state scholarships.
ASU officials have maintained the scholarship is legal because they use private money and not state money.
Some of the special-class international students are from China and other countries and lack proof of citizenship or legal residency but "are really great students," Crow said.