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Sep 02, 2013 05:02 AM EDT

Notre Dame Welcomes Undocumented Students for Undergraduate Programs

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University of Notre Dame has revised its admission policy for undergraduate programs. It is now accepting undocumented students who were earlier considered international students and thus required to obtain a student visa.

 "We will now consider undocumented students for admission without the subsequent expectation that they receive a student visa to study at Notre Dame," Director of Admissions Bob Mundy said. "We will also meet their demonstrated financial need, as we would for any admitted student."

"In making the decision to admit academically qualified men and women who are undocumented," said Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, "we will strengthen our incoming class and give deserving young people the chance for a Notre Dame education."

Prior to the policy change, undocumented students required to "leave the United States and apply for that visa at an American embassy in another country, which made it very challenging," Mundy added. 

Don Bishop, Notre Dame's associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment said that the policy change 'will strengthen our incoming class and give deserving young people the chance for a Notre Dame education.'

Alex Coccia, student body president and Nancy Joyce, vice president, applauded the university's decision.

"With this decision, we join many of our fellow Catholic schools across the country who provide pathways to education for undocumented students," they said. "Our Catholic Tradition illustrates this as a moral obligation to our brothers and sisters, and our Catholic migrant history demonstrates our commitment to educating students 'where learning becomes service to justice.'"

However, Senior Mark Gianfalla, president of the College Republicans, is not in favour of the decision because he feels that it is not lawfully right.

"Basically, ...someone enters the country illegally and Notre Dame addresses their right to education and puts them above international students that have not broken a law to get here," Gianfalla said. "I know that Notre Dame emphasizes ethics across the board, and this is sending the wrong message to ignore the fact that these young people who entered the country illegally broke the law and were residing here for a long part illegally until 2012 when DACA was passed and now have a short stay period."

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