Scholarships Just for Illegal Immigrants

By David Seminara on August 24, 2012

Here’s yet another, only-in-America news item: Hampshire College announced the creation of a scholarship fund this week specifically for illegal immigrants. The fund will reportedly provide $25,000 toward Hampshire’s $43,000 annual tuition. At least three states — Texas, California, and New Mexico — provide in-state tuition discounts for illegal immigrants, and UCLA and Cal-Berkeley also have scholarship funds for illegal immigrants.

I have no problem with illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents as children and have grown up here attending college in the United States, but the idea of creating scholarship funds solely for families that broke the law is absurd. People who have no legal right to live in the country should not be entitled to a special scholarship that others can’t even apply for. How would you even vet the applications?

If I was a legal immigrant and wanted to apply for the scholarship, could I fake it and claim that I was illegal, or if not, how does one go about proving that you are in the country illegally — do you have to show a deportation order, an overstayed visa, or some other proof that you have no right to be here?

And how illegal do you have to be? Must one enter the country illegally, or can you overstay a short-term visa to qualify? What if I entered the country with a fraudulent passport, or a real one borrowed from a U.S. citizen? Could I submit those fraudulent documents as proof that I am eligible for the scholarship?

If I’m a high school student from another country, here on an exchange visa, can I apply for the scholarship only if I remain here past the terms of my visa? If I go home at the conclusion of the exchange program, as the terms of the visa dictate, then apply to Hampshire, do I not qualify for the scholarship? Can I apply if I am currently in the country legally, but plan to overstay, or do I have to wait until I am technically in the country illegally? What about foreign students who arrive with student visas? If they lose their legal status, can they apply for the scholarship?

I would love to be part of the vetting process and have to break the news to someone that they aren’t quite illegal enough to qualify.

I’m sure the crunchy sociology professor who came up with this idea would say that the point of the scholarship is to help (illegal) immigrant families afford to send their children to college. But these days, who doesn’t need help financing higher education?

It’s bad enough that American kids are already forced to compete with the whole world to get into and secure funding to attend competitive colleges and universities, but creating special breaks for people who have no legal right to live here is even worse.