Past Features

March 5, 2007 (Vol. 5, No. 3)

Workshop Focuses on Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

Herminio Martinez
Herminio Martinez
Providing financial aid to undocumented students was the topic recently tackled by Dr. Herminio Martinez, executive director of the Bronx Institute at Lehman, and other educators in a recent series of workshops held to address the complexities involved in this issue.

Sponsored by the National Council for Community and Education Partnership, the series took place in Atlanta and included presentations by Francisco Estrada, director of public policy for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Tina Atkins, director of GEAR UP Region I, Edinburg, Texas.

Professor Martinez discussed the rules that regulate whether non-resident students can apply for in-state tuition in New York State. The students must have attended (for at least two years) and graduated from an approved New York State high school, or they must hold a GED (high school equivalency diploma) issued in the State. In addition, they must apply for attendance at a SUNY, CUNY, State-operated, or community college within five years of receiving their diploma.

Panelists also discussed the proposed Federal Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which would provide financial support to undocumented students who meet certain criteria. Students must: have entered the U.S. before the age of 16; have resided in the U.S. continuously for at least five years; be of good moral character and have no criminal record; and be admitted to a two- or four-year higher education institution and/or have earned a high school diploma or GED at the time of application for conditional status. Foreign students holding F-1 and J-1 visas are not currently eligible for any financial assistance.