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Immigration policy sound

Staff Editorial | Friday, April 11, 2008

The University of Notre Dame accepts qualified students regardless of immigration status, but all undocumented immigrants must finance their education.

This solution is more than fair. Notre Dame should not punish those applicants for circumstances beyond their control – and it doesn’t. An undocumented immigrant’s admission is based on his or her merits just as with any other student.

But gaining admission and affording an education here are two separate issues.

Guaranteed aid is a relatively recent phenomenon for the University. A large portion of aid is Federal, aimed to increase the ability of all U.S. citizens to afford a higher education. Undocumented immigrants, by definition, fail to meet this requirement and thus should not be considered for Federal aid. And, though the Notre Dame endowment was approximately the 14th largest in the country as of September, it does not compare to those of Harvard or Princeton – two schools currently granting aid to undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants are not alone in their denial of guaranteed financial aid – any international student must be able to pay for his or her four years here. The University’s commitment to meet demonstrated need applies only to U.S. citizens; undocumented immigrants are not being singled out in their denial. If financial aid were to be offered to undocumented immigrants who apply, international students must also be granted the same possibility. If undocumented immigrants received this aid and international students didn’t, it would be unfair to international students since both groups are not officially U.S. citizens.

Moreover, the Notre Dame financial aid service is not the only way to gain funds for education. Countless independent scholarships exist for which potential students are free to apply.

Students who chose to enroll here made the dream a reality on their own initiative. Notre Dame does what it can; setting reasonable limitations to maximize what aid is available. The University plays its part in offering acceptance.

The University’s immigrant admission and aid policy is sound as it is. It gives undocumented immigrants a chance to receive a high-quality education without jeopardizing the ability of citizens to get one as well. Any revision to the policy may hinder citizens’ chances to attend Notre Dame or receive necessary financial aid. This issue requires a delicate balance between both sides, and the University’s policy strikes it well.