DePaul to create scholarship for undocumented students

Ric Popp
May 25, 2017

How different would your life be if you didn't have the options to receive government grants and loans to help support your dreams of achieving higher education?

This is the reality undocumented students face. Many of these students, estimated to be 2 percent of the college population in the United States, according to The UndocuSchloars Project, were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents in hopes of finding a better future. Now they are often burdened with a significant lack of resources when it comes to the extreme costs of higher education, sometimes up to $17,000 less than those who can file for aid with a social security number.

DePaul students have decided that they want to change that reality.

In the most recent Student Government Association elections, of the nearly 2,000 students who voted, 85 percent said "Yes" on a referendum to add $2 to the quarterly student activity fee, an increase from $25 to $27. This increase will support a scholarship for those who are ineligible to file for federal aid.

The student organization, Undocumented Vincentians and Allies worked with the SGA to get the referendum on the ballot and garner student support in the weeks leading up to the election. As a Catholic and Vincentian university founded on serving the marginalized and less fortunate, students saw the opportunity to change lives by giving up one coffee or sandwich per quarter to help others.

DePaul has actively stated its support for undocumented students. This recent vote proves that students want to help.

In recognition of the referendum, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul, approved the fee increase just a few days following the announcement of the results. Next, the Office of Student Affairs, in collaboration with Financial Aid and several units across the university, will form a working group to focus on the application and criteria for the scholarship, with hopes of an initial distribution in the fall. The SGA will continue to work with Student Affairs on the implementation of the scholarship.

The DePaul community has a big heart. We see it all the time, especially when faculty, staff, alumni and other community members inquire about ways they can help contribute to these efforts. We hope to have news in the coming weeks regarding the opportunity to do so, as no donation is too big or too small to change a student's life.

Ric Popp is president of the Student Government Association.