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Undocumented College Students Excluded from COVID-19 Relief Find Help from Their Schools

Friday, June 26, 2020

For the past three years, Lisbeth Hernandez has managed to pay her tuition bill with scholarships from Dominican University and other organizations. But the effort to balance school and jobs is exhausting. 

"Once school is done, I go straight to work. So, that's just really mentally exhausting, and then going back home and trying to do homework at midnight and I'm waking up really early to catch the bus," she said.

But this summer, she lost her job because of the COVID-19 pandemic and she was worried she wouldn't be able to cover her tuition this fall. 

"I depend on the summers to meet most of my income for the school year. Amd that has been severely reduced. I've alredy wasted half of the summer not making money," she said.

But Dominican provided her with an extra $750 scholarship to help her out during this emergency, in addition to the significant financial aid that it awards her each year.

President Donna Carroll said that Dominican pours millions of dollars into scholarships for undocumented students every year. According to Carroll, undocumented students are some of the university's brightests, high achieving students, with the highest retention of any group of students. 

"We're trying, as we do with our financial aid, to mitigate the lack of public support with our own institutional support," she said.

You can read an article and listen to an audio interview with Hernandez and Carroll on Illinois Public Media