Tuition for undocumented rises, no public funding to ease burden

Joseph Starkloff

An increase in requests for financial aid from undocumented students who recently had their tuition increased by $241 per credit is expected, according to several MCCCD employees involved in the situation. Steven Helfgot, president and CEO for the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation (MCCF), said the MCCF is designed to help MCCCD students in any situation needing money for college.

“We collect several million dollars a year. We gave out, I think, last year $2 million in scholarships. We understand that different donors have different interest and different priorities.

“We are happy to accept support from anyone who wants to support students, whoever they might be. Our goal is to support all students,” Helfgot said.

Undocumented students are not allowed to receive Pell Grants, subsidized or unsubsidized government loans, and other forms of public funding.

This has left them with few options other than private grants and scholarships, such as what the MCCF provides.

“Some scholarships require that a student be a citizen. Some scholarships are designated specifically for undocumented students, and some scholarships are silent on the matter,” Helfgot said.

He also said that several of the foundation’s funding is designated with stipulations set-up by the donors.

These can range from being for a specific major to GPA requirements. All MCCCD students are able to apply for scholarships with the foundation as long as they meet the listed criteria.

MCC is not currently aware of how many students the tuition hike will affect.

Matt Ashcraft, the dean of research and planning analysis at MCC, gave a rough estimate of there being 547 undocumented students in 2010, but said he is still conducting more research to give a more accurate total.

“I need to make sure that if a student is coded a certain way, that’s what it means. It’s not something that I’ve reported out on in the past so I want to make sure I’m doing it properly,” he said.

While the district and MCC have kept track of the student population’s gender, credit hours, ethnicity, age, longevity with the college, time of attendance, reason for attending, and average class size, Ashcraft said that a student’s documentation of citizenship has not been tracked.

MCCF scholarships can be found at

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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