January 11, 2016 — In the spring of 2015, Loyola University Chicago students voted to raise their tuition — in order to fund a scholarship for undocumented students. Now the Loyola Board of Trustees has approved the implementation of the Magis Scholarship Fund, which will raise approximately $50,000 each academic year.
After a 2013 report by several Jesuit universities on the struggles undocumented students face, the Loyola community united to respond. Students began educating their peers, as well as trying to find a solution.
What they discovered was simple: if each student paid just an additional $2.50 each semester, the school would have an additional $50,000 each year — money that could be used for scholarships for undocumented students. With a matching grant from Don Graham, chairman and CEO of Graham Holdings Company and founder of TheDream.US, the students voted to raise their tuition.
The initiative, organized by the Student Government of Loyola Chicago and the Latin American Student Organization, starts this spring when the inaugural scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student (or students) for use during the 2016–2017 academic year.
“As students at a Jesuit university, we recognize that our personal development is shared among one another,” said student Flavio Bravo, one of the student leaders involved in the initiative. “The undergraduate student body has demonstrated its commitment to supporting our undocumented peers, and the doors are open for alumni, community leaders, faculty and staff to do the same. It is our hope that our efforts will inspire others to help the scholarship grow.”
The scholarship isn’t the only step Loyola has taken toward aiding undocumented students. Their School of Medicine was the first medical school in the U.S. to admit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, and Loyola recently founded Arrupe College, a two-year community college that provides scholarships for all, including undocumented, students.
“As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, we have a responsibility to do more for our students, specifically those who are marginalized in our communities,” said Interim President John P. Pelissero, Ph.D. “We are committed to living out our mission through tangible acts of service and institutional change. The implementation of these scholarship programs is one way we are showing our commitment to students, regardless of their status.”