- United States
Undocumented immigrant students in United States who cannot afford university education or unable to continue education due to state law restrictions will be able to take advantage of National Dream University program that provides online platform to study college courses.
The University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Center for Labor Research and Education has joined hands with the National Labor College in Maryland to lay the foundation of National Dream University exclusively for undocumented immigrant students. The Project is being coordinated by Alma Castrejon.
Student would have to incur a cost of $2,490 for a year’s coursework, making it $65 per unit Cost. They will be required to do all their coursework and assignments online, except at the beginning and end of the year when they will have to travel between Maryland and California within the first quarter. The students will be taking six courses on selective topics including labor history, nonviolence and social movements and many others. The students might be taught by undocumented master’s graduates and Ph.D. candidates. College credits can also be transferred to other schools and can also go towards a degree at the College.
Castrejon said that the illegal immigrant students are being deprived of higher education just because they cannot afford it or are not allowed to. “Students are getting motivated,” Castrejon said, “they are having a newfound sense of hope they can go to college. If they are not having this opportunity in their home state, they need someone to provide that.”
Director of UCLA’s labor College, Kent Wong said that the main idea of the project is to provide online course facility to the students to make their study time flexible. “There are particular experiences and challenges they face as undocumented,” Wong said, “that other students do not face. Majority of undocumented students really struggle to complete their education at UCLA. Many have to take off quarters to work. Many have to work in the underground economy to save money to go to school. Many have to commute, three hours to go to UCLA. It is not easy for Dream Act students to attend college.”
The final date for applying for the University course is set to be October 5th, 2012. The applications will be processed by November, in which the coordinators will announce the names of 30 to 35 students who are to attend the coursework next year.
The project is said to be inspired by a similar program that a group of college professors in Georgia started last year, due to ban on undocumented immigrant students from studying in state colleges and universities. A group of five professors had offered to teach undocumented immigrants students in once a week ‘to the point’ seminars. The seminars were designed to cover all the courses the regular students are taught in universities and colleges.
The policy barring the students to study in universities was later on dropped by the Georgia state administration.
People all around the United States are gaining confidence to help undocumented immigrants living in the country. The change in the attitudes of the United States citizens can, to an extent, be attributed to President Obama’s new deferred deportation program that showed the people that if they want to help these illegal immigrants, they can help them without any fears. Such initiatives by the local citizens are also an indirect message for the US Immigration Department to adopt a more unbiased and possibly humanitarian approach towards these young illegal immigrants.
Tags: Deferred Deportation Program, Illegal immigrants, Immigration, Los Angeles, undocumented immigrant, undocumented immigrant students, United States, University of California, US Immigration, US immigration department, young illegal immigrants