New program aims to help immigrant students in Georgia attend college

A nonprofit group in Georgia is starting a new program aimed at helping immigrant students without legal status in the U.S. get a college education here.

The Freedom House, which advocates for education for all regardless of immigration status, is calling the initiative “Dream Schools.” The program will feature workshops, retreats and inspirational speakers that will help immigrant students surmount obstacles to attending college.

Students who have been granted a special reprieve from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are barred from attending any Georgia institution that has not enrolled all of its academically qualified applicants for the previous two years. That prohibition now applies to the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State, Georgia Regents and Georgia College and State universities.

Georgia’s University System also bars such students from paying in-state college tuition rates, which are several thousand dollars below the out-of-state rates. In June, a Fulton County Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to reverse that policy. The 39 plaintiffs are now appealing to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Opponents say taxpayer-funded benefits should be reserved for those who have legal status in the U.S. Supporters say it makes sense to offer the lower in-state tuition rates to Georgia students who could contribute more to the state’s economy after boosting their skills in college.

Freedom House plans to formally announce its new “Dream Schools” program at an Aug. 30 fundraising event at 6:30 p.m. The location is to be announced.

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