Last year, undergraduate students at Loyola University Chicago voted to raise their own student fees by $2.50 per semester to create a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant undergraduate students. In December, the university’s board of trustees voted to approve this fund, to be called the Magis Scholarship Fund. The first recipients are slated to be selected this spring and are scheduled to receive the scholarship beginning next fall.
This student initiative grew from a report presented early in 2013 by researchers from Loyola as well as Fairfield and Santa Clara universities. The researchers recognized that there are many bright, talented and highly motivated men and women of college age whose parents brought them to the United States without government authorization or, in some cases, overstayed their visas. They have great potential to contribute to the future of our country but cannot yet do so because of obstacles they face in pursuing higher education. Most other Jesuit colleges and universities endorsed this research.
In response, members of Loyola’s student government and its Latin American student organization spearheaded the effort to build this $50,000 scholarship fund. Don Graham of TheDream.US, a web-based scholarship fund, matched the students’ contribution. Speaking for his fellow students, Flavio Bravo explained, “As students at a Jesuit university, we recognize that our personal development is shared among one another.” This student initiative is a challenge to all to notice the needs of our brothers and sisters and to take the first small steps that can grow and help build a better future for all of us.