Veasey Reintroduces Legislation to Promote Access to Higher Education for Immigrant and First Generation American Students
Washington, D.C. – On April 6, 2017, Congressman Marc Veasey, TX-33, reintroduced legislation to streamline the federal financial aid application process for citizen students with immigrant parents and to protect undocumented students from discrimination if they apply to a state college or university that receives financial support from the federal government. The Trump Administration’s immigration policies have evoked fear within our communities, but should not deter undocumented and first generation American students from pursuing higher education. That is why Congressman Veasey introduced three pieces of legislation to address barriers this student population faces as they seek financial assistance to pay for college or seek admittance to public universities.
Currently, when students apply for the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA), they must provide their parents’ social security number. For students with parents who do not possess a social security number, they must submit an additional signature verification page through the mail which can severely delay the processing of their application. H.R. 2070, the FAFSA for All Act, instructs the Department of Education to provide clear instructions for students with legal or undocumented immigrant parents when applying for federal financial aid and to develop an online upload tool to eliminate manual submission of an electronic signature for these students. Recently, a Washington D.C. high school junior was denied access to the District’s tuition grant program because her mother was an undocumented immigrant, therefore making access to federal financial assistance even more vital to continue her education.
H.R. 2072, the Fairness in Financial Aid Act, would further ease the process for students with non-citizen parents by allowing them to submit their parents’ Tax Identification Number (TIN) in place of a social security number. Amending the FAFSA to accommodate this adjustment will ensure that hardworking first-generation Americans from mixed status families do not forfeit their ability to apply for available financial aid.
Last year, Georgia and Alabama banned undocumented students from applying to their state’s colleges and universities. Both states have been known to pass stringent anti-immigrant measures and their continued assault on the dreams of immigrant students should not be replicated in other parts of the country. H.R. 2071, the American Dream Promise Act would prevent these types of anti-immigrant policies by prohibiting discrimination against undocumented students who are applying to public universities who otherwise qualify for acceptance and admittance.
“Now more than ever, the immigrant community needs our protection and continued support. By re-introducing legislation aimed at improving access to higher education for first generation Americans and preventing discrimination for academically accomplished undocumented students, I want to demonstrate that America benefits the most when we empower immigrants and allow them to contribute to the only country they’ve ever called home,” Congressman Veasey said.