HOPE scholarship gives hope to those ineligible for government scholarships

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

The HOPE scholarship is a student-lead initiative that focuses on providing financial aid for students who aren’t eligible for government-based funding.

“So that includes, but it isn’t limited to, undocumented students, trans students, students with misdemeanors and then we have a supplemental insight on the side in case of emergencies for international students,” said Arnoldo Ayala, junior in LAS, HOPE department director and speaker pro tempore.

The scholarship focuses on giving opportunities to students who are unable to pay for higher education. Much of the scholarship is influenced by the recent RISE Act passed in Illinois that allows this scholarship to exist.

“But the HOPE scholarship is not only for undocumented students, it also includes the same groups that the RISE Act includes,” said Executive Associate Vice Chancellor Gio Guerra Pérez. “So the HOPE scholarship mirrors the RISE scholarship, so you can not remove one from the other.” 

The funding for the scholarship will come from the tuition all students pay and would provide these individuals the finances needed in order to receive a proper education.

“Basically, everybody’s tuition would be just getting an extra fee of $3.50, and this would all be going to the college for these students,” said Kevin Garcia, junior in Business and president of iCause.

This initiative has been repeatedly advocated for over the years. With the RISE Act gaining attention and being adapted into various colleges, many potential students are able to receive higher education.

The process of creating this scholarship has been long and strenuous, but the students in charge of this procedure are determined to make this a reality. The scholarship is a student initiative, with many of the students taking charge to pass it and help fellow peers who may need this aid, according to Pérez.

“I am proud of their resilience. I’m proud of their commitment to help fellow students who, because of their situation, had confronted a lot of barriers in getting financial aid or financial support to cover the cost of tuition, tuition fees and more. So that is what I’m very proud of: this solidarity that has been shown to these students,” Pérez said.

The students continue to advocate for individuals who may need financial aid and aren’t able to receive government funding. As of right now, the scholarship is still processing in the system, and the students are moving forward with their plans.

The students in charge of this scholarship have been communicating with Illinois Student Government in order to move forward with this project. The initial resolution was passed in the spring last year, and currently in the midst of budgeting and planning the application process.

“As of right now, this past semester in the fall, we had to present to the Student Financial Advisory board, and we had to come up with a whole presentation as to why this would be important for students and kind of come up with the structure [of the scholarship] a little bit.” Garcia said.

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