by Adrianne Cleven
Pittsboro, NC – The new CCCC-SECU scholarship is designed to assist students in achieving higher education, but I was concerned to discover that the rules of the contest disqualify some of our community’s most vulnerable and deserving individuals. In a Chatham Journal article titled “CCCC joins SECU for scholarship opportunity” published January 25, the first listed specification for eligibility was that the scholarship applicant be a U.S. citizen.
As an alum of Northwood High School, I am concerned that many of my undocumented friends still living in the community are not being given access to further their education and reach their career goals. Undocumented students are incredibly driven, capable and just as deserving of scholarship awards as citizens of this country.
All too often, our nation’s flawed education system renders them ineligible for in-state tuition rates and scholarship funding. Therefore, I was disappointed to notice that the recent CCCC-SECU scholarship plays a role in cutting off accessibility to education.
Limiting opportunities based solely on a student’s citizenship status borders on discrimination, and so does this scholarship’s U.S.-citizen rule.Both CCCC and SECU claim to be educational and community-based leaders in a state with one of the fastest-growing immigration rates in the nation.
As such, they incur a moral and ethical responsibility to consider this notoriously underserved population. The article claimed that, “Preference will be given to students with limited or no access to financial aid from other programs.” If that were really the case, such an grave oversight would not have occurred.
Though applications for the scholarship are due in just a few days, I encourage organizers to consider the dilemma of undocumented education-seekers if they offer this award again. The scholarship money of $750 could make a world of difference in the life of such a student, and refusing to even consider such individuals is irresponsible and unfair.