Republican Senator Pushes Back On College Aid For Undocumented Students

Feb 10, 2014

A bipartisan plan in the Washington legislature to give undocumented students access to college aid is coming under fire.

A Republican state senator from eastern Washington has introduced a measure to amend the so-called Real Hope Act. This change would give priority to lawful residents when it comes to limited financial aid dollars.

The Real Hope Act passed the Washington Senate with broad bipartisan support. It expands college scholarships for low-income students to include high school graduates who came to this country illegally with their parents.

Last year, the program already had a waiting list of 32,000 eligible students. State Senator Janea Holmquist Newbry says that’s a problem.

“If we’re going to add more kids to the queue let’s have them go to the back of the line instead of being able to go to the front of the line and bump these kids that have already been waiting,” she says.

Holmquist Newbry is a Republican from Grant County, Wash., where Latinos make up nearly 40 percent of the population. She says within that immigrant community are families with legal status who don’t think their kids should have to compete with undocumented students for college aid.

Sponsors of the so-called Real Hope Act say the program should award students money based on financial need, not whether they have legal status or not.