Last spring, Governor. Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed a bill that would provide financial aid to undocumented students. This made New Jersey one of the few states in the US who use taxpayer-funded financial aid to help illegal immigrants pay for college.
While the signing of the bill and the enactment of it has already been in its works, helping thousands of undocumented students get the education they need, state officials released the numbers of unauthorized immigrants who came forward to apply for this program.
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According to state officials, in the first fourth months of the program, 1,365 undocumented students have applied. Of the 1,365 applicants, 665 have been approved to get money for college. That means 48% of the applicants were approved for financial aid. Jennifer Azzarano, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority, also claimed that another 350 applications are still pending and the remaining 350 were rejected because students were deemed ineligible for the money.
State Legislatures said that early estimates for the costs to pay for the tuitions came out to be $5 million, but that exceeded in the first few months.
A lot of controversies has tied itself around this matter, questioning the morality of the decision to pay for undocumented immigrants while other students are struggling to pay their college cost.
Gov. Murphy replied, “This is the world’s melting pot where people in every part of the globe can come here in the hope of a new life.”
So far in New Jersey, the college with the most undocumented immigrants enrolled in is Rutgers University, best known for its Psychology, Biology/Biological Sciences, Kinesiology, and Public Health majors.
How Do Students Apply?
Students apply by filling out the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application. The deadline for it was Sept. 15 to apply for the first wave of aid for the fall semester but they can continue applying now for the spring semester, state officials said.
Here are the criteria:
- Attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years
- Graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey
- Male students have registered for the Selective Service
- The student signs an affidavit stating they will file an application to legalize their immigration status if and when they are eligible
State officials also said the application process for state financial aid is separate from any federal databases. No information will be given to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.