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GPC, the College of Opportunity

Undocumented students look for doors like GPC to open for their education.

I used to be one of the 11 million illegal immigrants in America, and the biggest struggle I faced was education. My family moved to America for better education and opportunities, but due to unexpected circumstances we lost our legal status in America. While it was luck that we were able to obtain legal status a few years later, the other 11 million immigrants might not be as lucky, and their biggest struggle will also be getting an education.

Fortunately, Georgia Perimeter College makes their struggle a bit easier and it surely made my dream of an education come true. GPC is one of the very few colleges in the state of Georgia that allows undocumented students to get a valid education.

According to the University System of Georgia policy, the top colleges in the state like Georgia State, University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech  do not allow the most excellent undocumented students to attend their colleges. Private universities such as Emory, Mercer and DeVry do allow undocumented students to attend, but do not provide aid to them and are therefore extremely expensive for students.

“Many of my friends are illegal and although graduated with good grades from high school, they can’t join me at GPC due to their status. My friends, who can’t afford the high out-of-state tuitions, have been forced to work low-paying jobs, simply due to their status,”
said Durga Darji, a GPC student who is a legal immigrant from Nepal.

“All students, regardless of status, should be given the opportunity of education. After all, that’s what America stands for. If these students have spent the majority of their lives in America and hold a Georgia high school diploma, they are as American as I am and should therefore share the same rights of education as I do,”
said Makeda Guillory, a GPC student from Georgia.

Georgia Perimeter is one of the few accredited and inexpensive colleges that serve as an option for Illegal immigrants, just like it did for me. However community colleges are only two-year schools and do not offer any Bachelor’s degree programs. There are options to help undocumented students out after they move on from GPC.

Consider an out-of-state college

Unlike Georgia, many states across the country do allow undocumented students to attend college. Colleges in New York, California, Texas and many more states also provide merit scholarships to deserving students. While undocumented students are already paying out-of-tuition in their own state, the tuition rate would not be much higher than what they are paying now.

Find a job or a company that will sponsor you.

While this option is difficult, if a student’s passion and professional skills are strong, they can find small companies who will sponsor them for a work status in return for their work and dedication to the company.

Online programs are a great way to go.

Online programs are not the most desirable, but are great options for undocumented students who would like to pursue a further education. Many small and inexpensive colleges provide online programs that help a student obtain a degree quick. An online schedule is also flexible and convenient for all students.

As a proud Jaguar, I am glad I found GPC. Yes, options for undocumented students are few but not completely unavailable and it is just a matter of reaching out!

Also, as the consolidation of Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter takes place, the good news is that the policies of GPC in regards to illegal immigrants will not change and will remain the same.

About Sheron Virani

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