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Uphill struggle for undocumented students

Editorial | RUSA must increase efforts on NJ?tuition bills

With recent developments regarding the New Jersey bills on tuition for undocumented students, it has become clear that RUSA has more to do regarding campus awareness on the issues. Illegal immigrant students continue to face an uphill battle when it comes to equal access to higher education. The case of in-state tuition for undocumented students remains in a limbo, as the Rutgers University Student Assembly continues to make its case for the two bills that can change the futures of numerous University students.

In the midst of RUSA’s progress toward increasing University and state awareness about immigration reform, university students and members of New Jersey United Student and the N.J. DREAM Act Coalition participated in a rally that was hosted on Jan. 8. Undocumented students from many universities gathered to speak about the struggles they face in paying their rising tuition costs. In the presence of large media coverage, advocates congregated to make their voices known to the state Senate that it is time for immigration reform to be readdressed in New Jersey.

RUSA is focused on drawing University President Robert L. Barchi’s support toward the two bills, as they hope that endorsement from the State University of New Jersey would offer greater weight towards the bills’ success. The assembly also hopes to raise awareness amongst university students about the developments. The student assembly also hopes to raise awareness among University students about what’s going on and what needs to be done. The assembly’s support for the cause remains unwavering and continues to collaborate with New Jersey United Students in their mutual efforts.

While one of the primary concerns of passing the bills is the University’s need to increase their budget to satisfy more in-state students, this is an absolutely worthy cause to do so. The bills would assist students that not only struggle to afford higher education, but that also clearly want to be at the University if they are fighting to pay an increased tuition to attend. Further, doing so would facilitate undocumented students’ acquiring health care at lower costs that they otherwise would not have access to. The entire conversation is worth the strain because it ultimately provides education to more people, which is what the conversation should really be all about.

It is necessary for increased energy to be attributed toward educated University students on the situation, the bills being presented, and ultimately, what impact the passage of those bills would have on their own tuition and ability to afford higher education. This situation warrants an entire student campaign on the issue that raises awareness about the bills and their benefits and implications on the student body. The bills raise questions such as how we can expand our University’s budget, if doing so would impact the tuitions of documented in-state students, and whether or not undocumented N.J. students are legally entitled to in-state tuition. RUSA does not always have a clear message in its intentions, and this would be a necessary opportunity to showcase the power that a united and cohesive student body can have in effecting change in our state.

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