ASU Scholarship Program for Non-Citizens Is Revived

Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), March 6, 2008

A controversial scholarship that benefited Arizona State University students who are in the country illegally is being revived.

Since the news media reported last month that the special scholarship’s funding had run out for the 2008-09 school year, private donors in the Valley have stepped forward, ASU President Michael Crow said. ASU officials are working with a third-party group to provide scholarship money.

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A fund called the American Dream Fund Coalition has been set up and is being maintained by the non-profit group Chicanos Por La Causa.

He estimates the cost at about $3 million a year, adding that the money will come from private sources and not state funding.

For the past year, 207 undocumented immigrants who graduated from Arizona high schools have received private scholarship money through the ASU Foundation.

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When Crow announced the scholarships last year, he met with criticism from some state lawmakers who questioned whether the strategy complied with the law. ASU officials have maintained the scholarship is legal because they use private, not state, money.

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Crow said the students, who ASU calls “special-class international students,” are victims of the bad public policy of various countries, including the United States. Not all the students are from Mexico, he said. Some are from China and other countries, and they lack proof of citizenship or legal residency. “It turns out somehow they’ve ended up in the United States, and they have citizenship nowhere,” he said.

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