Ivy League Accepts Student Barred From Georgia's Best Public Universities,By Julio Cachila, UniversityHerald Reporter
Barred from studying in her state's public universities for her undocumented status, a student from Georgia went to Ivy League Universities instead - and was accepted.
Nineteen-year-old Valentina Garcia Gonzalez, who was recently accepted into Dartmouth College this past fall, told the Business Insider that her journey to higher education wasn't that easy for her simply because she "didn't have a piece of paper" - referring to legal documents.
Born in Uruguay, Garcia Gonzalez illegally entered the U.S. with her parents in 2002, back when she was only 6 years old. She then lived in her new home for the next 14 years, growing with friends and classmates, going to the same schools together, and even enjoying the same pop-culture references.
Garcia Gonzalez did well in her studies at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, Georgia, being accepted into gifted classes and taking more than two dozen Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Yet despite her good performance, Georgia's best public universities won't let her in because of two policies placed against undocumented students:
Policy 4.1.6 prohibits undocumented applicants from applying to Georgia's top five public universities, namely the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia College and State University, Georgia Regents University, and Georgia Institute of Technology; and
Policy 4.3.4 prohibits giving in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Both policies were instituted by the Georgia Board of Regents in 2011.
Garcia Gonzalez, who performed well in her studies, lost her confidence because of these barriers, asking if her being undocumented equates to being "less of a student" and being "unworthy of higher education." She lost hope in gaining acceptance at universities, and thought community college was her only option.
Thankfully, she found help in the form of Freedom U, an organization that describes itself as a modern-day "freedom school" for undocumented students, giving them college-level classes, financial-aid assistance, and leadership development classes. Freedom U pushed Garcia Gonzalez into applying at selective schools.
After applying at nine different universities, Garcia Gonzalez was accepted at Dartmouth College, and is considering studying neuroepidemiology. And despite the opposition she receives because of her undocumented status, she remains steady in her pursuit of college education, even considering running for student government.