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Marquette University students host gala for undocumented student scholarships

By Ella Davis |
April 8, 2016
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Milwaukee, WI - The Marquette University student organization Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) hosted its first annual “Together We Dream” Gala, March 31. 200 people came together to celebrate and share the experiences of undocumented students and to raise money for the newly created Ignacio Ellacuria S.J. Dreamer Scholarship at the university.

There is an undeniable need for increased educational equity across oppressed communities. Every year, an estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, while only 5-10% of those students go on to pursue higher education.

The barriers to attaining a college degree for students without legal status include the constant increase in tuition, the lack of access to federal financial aid and the varying state laws which, for example, prohibit in-state tuition for undocumented community members or which don’t let allow them access higher education at all.

The keynote speaker at the event was Maricela Aguilar Monory, a Marquette alumna who is undocumented and unafraid. She spoke of her experience attending a private institution: “I met students who wanted to go to school as much as I had, who were just as dedicated as I was, but who were denied the ability to go to school full time, or even at all some semesters. I began to truly understand the dissonance between American ideals and American reality.”

The creators and supporters of the scholarship hope it will help close the gap between the U.S. ideals of achievement and self-determination, and the current reality of disparities in higher education.