Bill gives non-residents chance at higher ed

By and

U junior Silvia Salguero wishes more high school counselors would tell students that attending college is an attainable-and affordable-goal, even if they are not citizens of the United States.

Salguero said it would be even better if younger children were encouraged to think about attending college in the future, “so they can keep a dream in their minds…to have something better for themselves,” Salguero said.

It’s a dream Salguero had when she finished high school, and because Utah is one of the seven states which grants in-state tuition to children of undocumented workers, it was possible for Salguero to attend the U.

Now it’s possible for students across the nation. On Oct. 23, the DREAM act-the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2003-sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, was passed in the United States Senate by a 16-3 vote.

It allows states like Utah-which grants students who have attended at least three years of high school in the state the ability to pay the same tuition as residents-to do so under federal law.

The act also makes another “dream” attainable to the students that state laws cannot. Under the act, after six years as a resident and at least two years as a college student or member of the military, a child of an undocumented worker is qualified to obtain legal permanent residency.

Students must meet other criteria as well-such as having moved to the United States before their sixteenth birthday, “not being deportable on account of a criminal conviction,” and being of good moral character.

The bill is estimated to affect between 7,000 and 13,000 people.

It will affect students at the U, like Salguero, as well. Salguero moved to Utah with her parents in the mid-1990s. She began eighth grade with the dream to one day attend college-and obtain legal residency-strong in her mind. She now has a younger brother benefiting from the same tuition break-and other siblings hoping to do the same.

According to Director of Admissions John Boswell, fewer than a dozen students of immigrant status are currently attending the U by paying in-state tuition.

One way to increase the number is to make sure more high school counselors know about the act. The in-state tuition benefit is a “relatively new program” that not many know about, according to Boswell.

In fact, when asked to comment on the act, many U administrators were admittedly unfamiliar with the details-and even the act itself.

According to Salguero, more awareness would result in better education for many students who may not be able to attend college otherwise.

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