Loyola University Chicago students want to help their undocumented peers -- and they're willing to pay for it. Some 70 percent of student voters approved a recent referendum that would increase their semester fees by $2.50 and put the money in a scholarship fund for undocumented students who cannot receive state or federal financial aid. "It says, ‘Here at Loyola we accept the best and the brightest no matter what their documentation is,’” former student body president Flavio Bravo told the Loyola Phoenix. Bravo said he's planning to formally propose the Magis scholarship plan to the school's board of trustees in June.
The increased fees -- $5 per student per year, for a total of more than $50,000 -- would support the Magis Scholars Fund, named after the Latin word for "more." The student government and Latin American Student Organization would oversee and award the money. Applicants would need to be full-time undergraduates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and leadership potential, according to the initiative's Facebook page. "It’s a way for us to say we know the university can be doing ‘the more’ for those students,” Bravo told Campus Reform.
As of fall 2014, Loyola had about 16,000 students. The private Jesuit university designated about 190 of them as "nonresident aliens" in 2012, according to the most recent demographic breakdown. Undocumented students qualify for in-state tuition in Illinois but can't apply for most financial aid programs.
About 27 percent of the student body turned out to vote on the referendum, which has no legal power but does serve as an indication of students' opinion on the issue. Bravo, who initiated the referendum, said he hopes the trustees will vote on it in December. “What comes next is the fight,” current student government president Michael Fasullo told the Loyola Phoenix. “What we have to do is ensure that this is implemented."