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New Scholarships AZ program seeks to increase support for undocumented students

college students
Posted at 7:03 AM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 11:34:24-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — From scholarship writing to navigating employment possibilities, a new program from the local organization Scholarships AZ is here to expand support for undocumented students. It's called the Undocumented Youth Empowerment Initiative.

Alondra Solis, one of the team members at Scholarships AZ, said it's difficult for many undocumented youth to get to college or find a job. But with this program, Solis said students and families will get year round support.

"So you know undocumented youth would have year round support around scholarship writing, college success leadership and social awareness and workshops around how to earn money and explore employment possibilities," she said.

This free program is open to high school students, graduates and college students.

"They also have access to the student support team so we can answer any questions they have and help them in any way," Solis said.

While getting into college is difficult, one of the many reasons undocumented students don't go is because of cost, according to the University of Arizona Immigrant Student Resource Center's Karla Cruze-Silva.

"Undocumented youth are not eligible for any type of federal state or any kinds of financial aid," she said.

She said because of Prop 300, undocumented youth are not able to pay in-state tuition fees.

“So they’re paying fees that are very large and so again when you have limited funding and higher rates of tuition, there’s not balance," she said.

Cruze-Silva said the students have to apply for private scholarships.

"So they’re paying fees that are very large and so again when you have limited funding and higher rates of tuition, there’s not balance," she said. "That number of private funding is really limited.”

But that's where Scholarships AZ steps in. And Cruze-Silva says once they get to campus, the Immigrant Student Resource Center is also there to provide support.

"So we’ve got some peer mentoring programs, where we have other undocumented students and families or people with mixed status or DACA status helping others," she said.

If you're looking for the list of scholarships, you can find it here. And if you're looking to register for this program, head to our website.
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