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DACAmented Arizona Student Stripped of Scholarship

September 06, 2016 (2 min read)

Alex Devoid, Arizona Daily Star, Sept. 4, 2016- "An hour before his first class at Arizona State University last month, Eduardo Lujan, 23, got an unwelcome phone call. The school had revoked his two-year scholarship because of his immigration status, a university administrator told him. Lujan’s aunt had brought him to the United States from Mexico when he was 8. He lived here without legal documents throughout his childhood and his status prevented him from receiving state financial aid to Arizona universities. He attended Pima Community College, where his work permit allowed him to apply for the All-Arizona Community College Academic Team scholarship, which offers two years of tuition at any of Arizona’s three universities. PCC administrators selected him for the award in March, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Board of Regents sent him letters of congratulations. From there, the national Phi Theta Kappa honor society named him to the All-USA Community College Academic Team, which is reserved for the top 20 community college students in the nation. He left Pima with a box of medals and his sights set on ASU’s criminal justice program. After that, maybe law school or a career in law enforcement as a detective. But the phone call from Jennifer Ash, ASU’s assistant director of admission services, brought those dreams crashing down. Lujan said Ash referenced Arizona’s Proposition 300, which bars state funding for anyone who is “not a citizen or legal resident of the United States or who is without lawful immigration status.” ... In 2015, the Arizona Board of Regents gave in-state tuition to DACA students after a Maricopa County Superior Court ruling that determined their work permits gave them appropriate “lawful presence” in Arizona. “The State cannot establish subcategories of ‘lawful presence,’ picking and choosing when it will consider DACA recipients lawfully present and when it will not,” Judge Arthur Anderson ruled. The way Lujan saw it, the decision by ASU and the Arizona Board of Regents to revoke his scholarship contradicted that ruling. But the ruling only addressed in-state tuition in Arizona, not state financial aid, attorney Lynne Adams wrote in an email to the Star. Adams represents the Arizona Board of Regents and ASU. Matt Matera, executive director of Scholarships A-Z — which advocates for access to education regardless of immigration status — doesn’t buy that the ruling can’t also apply to financial aid. The “lawful presence” language should apply to state financial aid, grants and tuition waivers, along with in-state tuition, Matera argued. ... After striking out with ASU, Lujan said he called the Arizona Board of Regents four times. Debbie Sale of the regents’ student affairs office told him their legal team was reviewing his situation, he said."