She said she felt her tweet was misunderstood and that she did not mean to “mock anyone.”
There are an estimated 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools each year. They are guaranteed an education in U.S. public schools through grade 12. Trying to attend a college as an undocumented immigrant is another story.
Here’s a look at the law says about undocumented students.
Can undocumented students attend college in the United States?
Yes they can. There is no federal or state law that prohibits undocumented immigrants from attending college in the United States. Students applying for admission are not required to prove their citizenship under state or federal law. Most institutions set their own admission policies.
Colleges and universities in some states – Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Arizona – set restrictions on undocumented students. Those restrictions, however, are not placed on them by state or federal law.
If undocumented immigrants are able to get into state colleges and universities, can they pay the lower tuition rates that state residents pay?
Seventeen states currently have laws permitting certain undocumented students who have attended and graduated from their primary and secondary schools to pay in-state tuition rates.
Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
Rhode Island considers in-state tuition rates for undocumented students on a case-by-case basis.
Five of the states that allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition also allow the students to apply for state financial aid — California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and Washington.
Can undocumented students get financial aid in other states?
Undocumented students cannot legally receive any federally-funded student financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships or work-study money. With the exceptions above, in most states they are not eligible for state financial aid. Private scholarship funds and foundations generally require applicants to be U.S. citizens or legal residents.
However, as with admissions, it's up to the colleges and universities whether they will allow undocumented students to apply for aid.
Which colleges are considered “un-doc” friendly when it comes to financial aid?
There are several U.S. colleges and universities that offer undocumented students financial aid. Many classify undocumented students the same way foreign students are classified.
Some of the colleges that fall into that category are: Duke, Amherst, Brown, Emory, Harvard, Princeton, Oberlin College and Rice. There are several others.
What about the case in Texas?
According to a story from the Austin-American Statesman, Lara has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status. What that means is that certain young people who came to the United States as children receive a renewable two-year work permit and an exemption from deportation. The U.S. government has granted DACA status to more than half a million people.
As for the scholarship to the University of Texas, UT spokesman Gary Susswein explained, “In accordance with state law, Texas universities — including the University of Texas schools — have for decades granted two-semester tuition waivers to valedictorians of Texas public high schools, without regard to their residency status. State law also does not distinguish between documented and undocumented graduates of Texas high schools in admissions and financial aid decisions. University policies reflect that law."