Undocumented students should be able to receive financial aid

Gustavo Lopez

Undocumented students should receive financial aid – pure and simple. Students with financial aid will probably never know the struggle of trying to pay for books, food and transportation (gas or bus).

It’s not easy not being able to legally work AND go to school – full-time or even part-time.

According to the Cerritos College website, the cost of tuition per semester (factoring in miscellaneous spending, transportation and even rent to parents) has the total cost for the semester at $5,979. That’s $49 for each unit and the $19 health fee.

Or, the equivalent of 4,493 Doritos Taco Bell tacos, 5,855 Cup of Noodles or 111 complete box sets of the Game of Thrones books.

And that’s just for a semester.

Being a student with financial aid is hard enough, but having to pay out of pocket for books and transportation plus those other pesky expenses, like food and clothing, just really limits how many classes an undocumented student can take.

If a student qualifies, he can get a Board of Governors fee waiver. This brushes off the unit fees for classes, but even then, just worrying about books and transportation still limits students.

Too many times students with financial aid squander their money on a new car or clothes, mainly because they have money left over or have jobs.

Getting through school is a struggle for most undocumented students because there is a barrier in both a financial and social sense.

Most students probably don’t discuss their legal status openly. And if you’re broke, odds are you try to hide it as much as possible.

There’s a difference between, “I only have $20; I’m broke; let’s go eat,” which a financial aid student would often say, and “I only brought enough money for the bus ride ($1.75) home; I’m broke.”

The challenges and obstacles an undocumented student faces are many and are often seen as trivialities by others.

“Just get a job” is like saying “just stop being depressed.” The point is that undocumented students can’t get jobs – at least not legally.

Students under 30 can now apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals so that they may be able to legally work.

However, legal fees and the fee for the deferred action are expensive and some might see how financial aid might come in handy to help pay for such things.

Too many people paint undocumented students as lesser than citizens, and this attitude is not restricted to students alone.

It’s time to change that attitude and see how much easier getting an education can and should be for everyone.