Hispanics face extra financial barriers in higher education without citizenship

by Justin Miller, University student

Today Hispanics make up 15 percent of the U.S. population, and that number is predicted to double by 2050. Yet Hispanic students represent only 10 percent of college students. Here in Minnesota, that education disparity is one of the largest in the country. In an attempt to address this issue, our state implemented the flat-rate tuition bill which opened up the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to many undocumented students that otherwise would not have had the opportunity to pursue a higher education.

While this placed a flat rate on tuition for all students in 18 of the state’s public colleges, the University of Minnesota remains exclusive to undocumented students, who for many have spent their entire educational career in the state’s K-12 program. The undocumented students that are lucky enough to gain acceptance into the University must pay the extremely high price of out-of-state tuition without financial aid or scholarship. We have invested in these students, many of whom lived most of their lives in the country, with our public school tax dollars. So why must they face an economical barrier when they want to attend our prestigious University? It is after all a land-grant university, which means the University should be open to the people that occupy the land.

The University should include itself on the list of schools that offer flat-rate tuition. We can all agree that in-state tuition is much higher than anyone would like. So imagine the situation that many qualified but undocumented students face when they are not able to attend the school of their dreams for financial reasons. Rather than focusing on the profit from retaining the great minds and even greater tuition bills from outside Minnesota, the University should focus on ensuring that all those in Minnesota that are qualified to attend are able.