Illinois Democratic lawmakers are making state financial aid for college more accessible to illegal immigrant students and transgender students through the new Monetary Award Program (MAP), an alternative to the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Democratic State Rep. Lisa Hernandez sponsored the RISE Act which she says, “expands opportunity to all students, regardless of race, immigration status or gender identity.”
The new law, which went into effect January 1, is aimed at giving more options for illegal immigrant students to receive aid from the state, as well as transgender students who are not eligible to complete a Free Application Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) “because they did not register for selective service.”
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Transgender students who were born male but now identify as female, for example, are required by law to register for selective service but may choose not to register. Such a decision disqualifies them from receiving federal student aid.
“There wasn’t another mechanism for obtaining financial aid from the state,” Deputy Gov. Jesse Ruiz said. “Now we’ve created this new avenue that has solved this problem.”
“The aid that will be going to ‘undocumented’ students is potentially diverting funds from students who immigrated here legally,” University of Illinois at Chicago student Grant Stiles told Campus Reform of the new program.“The state is essentially telling us that they care more about undocumented students than the students who came here the right way.”
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