Prescott College, a private liberal arts college in Arizona, added a $30 fee to its annual tuition to fund its Freedom Education Fund, a full ride scholarship program for undocumented immigrants.
The added tuition charge was implemented after the majority of Prescott students signed a petition approving the plan. Beginning in fall 2016, students will pay an additional $30 to their $28,000 annual tuition.
Student Miriel Manning conceived and championed the fund after working with undocumented students for a school project, according to Phoenix New Times.
“Within the current political landscape of Arizona, it is critical that Prescott College shows our commitment to education as a human right,” Manning said in a statement.
With each student pitching in, the fund is projected to raise $15,000 annually. Prescott College is the second school in the country to request students contribute to a scholarship fund. Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, has a similar program, but only asks for $2.50 from each student, Fox News reports.
Prescott College president John Flicker praised his students, referring to them as “scholar activists."
“Their passion around this issue really motivated our part to make up the difference between what the fee will provide for and the full cost to attend one of our programs,” Flicker said, according to Mic. “We’re committed to broaden access to higher education for a diverse group of students and mobilize our resources toward social justice.”
Not everyone is thrilled with Prescott College’s new scholarship program.
“At a time when student loan debt is over $1 trillion it is irresponsible for Prescott College to offer this privilege at the expense of other students,” Andrew Kloster legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation told Fox News. He added that the school was only making “a political statement.”
Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, Jessica Vaughan, deemed the scholarship absurd.
“It’s a shame these students and faculty don’t have the same drive to help some of their fellow citizens who can’t afford college and who are forced to compete with illegal workers for job opportunities,” Vaughan said.
Arizona law forbids undocumented students from receiving financial aid. However, Prescott College is a private school and can do as it likes.
“I think it’s great,” student Ankur Singh told Mic. “For students who aren’t undocumented, we have the privilege of receiving financial aid because we can apply for loans, but undocumented students don’t have access to that.”
Arizona is host to roughly 65,000 undocumented high school graduates, but only between 7,000 and 13,000 enroll in higher education, Mic reports. The majority of undocumented students are barred from receiving financial aid, making college unfeasible.