Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why We Support the DREAM Act


By James Moeser and Andrea Bazán

In a program known as the UNC Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI), students at UNC-Chapel Hill make a three-year commitment to mentor Hispanic students at Jordan Matthews High School in Siler City. Students sign on as sophomores and work one-on-one with the high school sophomores through their graduation, preparing them to apply successfully for college.

We have seen first-hand the positive effects of this mentoring program on both the high school students as well as our own at UNC. Many of these young people have gone on to enroll in college, including some at Chapel Hill. Most, but not all of these students, are American citizens, but their legal status has not been an issue for the university. UNC’s concern has been its responsibility for the education of all North Carolinians, including the development of their full potential as human beings.

However, when students apply to the university, their legal status becomes a matter of grave concern. As non-residents, they are required to pay out-of-state tuition, and are not eligible for either federal or state need-based aid. The Office of Student Financial Aid has had to cobble together aid packages made up entirely of private funds. As a result, UNC has been able to admit only a handful of these promising students. Most of them are being left behind.

Click here to read the full article.