Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Educators Discuss How to Help Immigrant Students

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Educators Discuss How to Help Immigrant Students

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * Catholic school administrators are working on how to help students without legal immigration status who face special problems in getting into and paying for college.

"Many of these students live in the shadows," said Elizabeth Ortiz, vice president of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity at DePaul University in Chicago.

Ortiz was one of two panelists at a program on financial aid and admissions at the annual conference of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Washington Feb. 3.

The roadblocks such students face begin prior to matriculation.

Lynne Myers, director of financial aid at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., said applicants who lack legal immigration status sometimes are given forms they are unable to complete. "The [form] is asking you -to state that you are a citizen, when you're not," she said.

The federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid is used for prospective college students to determine eligibility for financial aid.

Some newly admitted students are blindsided at their school's financial aid office. It's a double loss for the students. They are accepted to college but ineligible for federal student loans, Pell grants or other federal aid. "It is painful to apply and be admitted and then be told there is no funding source," Myers said.

DePaul tries to circumvent the problem by using an institutional need assessment form for immigrant students, who are ineligible for federal loans or aid. The university then offers scholarships based on need, or directs students to other scholarships for which they may qualify. …

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