GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Undocumented Guilford County high school students want the 'Say Yes To Education' scholarship program to expand its eligibility requirements.
The students want to be included in the local scholarship program that provides free tuition to in-state public colleges and universities.
"Why is it that that it's different with me?" Araceli Garcia-Garnica said. "Why is it that one simple piece of paper matters to them so much?"
Garcia-Garnica was among the students and teachers who attended a rally outside the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center Tuesday. The Say Yes College Fair was going on inside.
Garcia-Garnica has lived in the United States since she was 2 years old. She is here on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which is an immigration policy that allows some illegal aliens to receive a renewable 2-year work permit.
However, her status makes her ineligible for the Say Yes to Education scholarship program in Guilford County.
The program currently requires applicants to use the FAFSA, which is only applicable to students with social security numbers. The program also only applies to students who are eligible for in-state tuition, which does not apply to undocumented students in North Carolina.
According to 'Say Yes Guilford', the program's current endowment would not be enough to cover undocumented students, especially since they would need to pay for out-of-state tuition.
"We try to provide support in other ways even without the scholarship," Mary Vigue, Say Yes Guilford Director, explained. "In terms of directing students to other scholarships and schools that will support them if they aren't eligible for our scholarship."
Vigue said 'Say Yes' is open to meeting with these students to talk about options moving forward.
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