Student Loans For Illegal Immigrants?

Whitney Woodward, SunTimes (Chicago), May 14, 2007

Illegal immigrants with “B” averages would be eligible for state-backed student loans if a controversial Senate proposal becomes law.

Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) has called for the state to establish a taxpayer-funded student loan fund from which Illinois residents—regardless of their citizenship—could borrow to pay for their academic careers.

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Sandoval’s loan program fell one vote short of passage Thursday but was kept alive through a parliamentary move.

Critics denounced the plan, saying it would offer state-backed student loans to illegal immigrants.

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Must promise to seek citizenship

The Senate is considering a different proposal that would allow illegal immigrants to drive legally through a new driver’s certificate program; the bill has already been approved by the House.

Illegal immigrants are allowed to attend Illinois public school, because districts are not allowed to ask students for proof of citizenship.

Sandoval’s bill explicitly calls for loan-seeking students who aren’t U.S. citizens or permanent residents to sign an affidavit that they will apply to be a permanent U.S. resident as soon as they are “eligible to do so.”

He framed his legislation as a means to give high-achieving students low-cost loans, although Sandoval could not estimate how much program enrollees would save, as compared with other loan programs.

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