Equal Access to Education

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On December 22, 1902, the first group of Korean immigrants arrived in Hawaii to work as laborers on sugar plantations. Since then, Korean Americans have grown to become the fifth largest Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) ethnic community living in the United States. 76% of Korean Americans are immigrants and 51% entered after 1990. Now more than ever, immigration reform is needed to improve the lives of all Americans. Approximately 360,000 Korean Americans are under the age of 18. It is estimated that 1 out of 5 Korean Americans are undocumented.

Like other students from low-income households, undocumented students must juggle working extra jobs to help out their families and to finance their schooling. But college-bound undocumented students have an additional hurdle: they are ineligible to receive Federal financial aid, such as Pell grants and loans, nor state benefits such as a Cal Grant award. Ten states have passed laws permitting eligible undocumented students to pay the same tuition as their classmates at public colleges and universities. California's in-state tuition law, AB540, passed in 2001. Unfortunately, since enactment, some colleges have wrongly denied in-state tuition benefits to hundreds of qualifying students.

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