In 2012, just months after American college student-loan debt ballooned to over one trillion dollars, Pitzer College began offering a scholarship specifically for illegal immigrants from Latin American countries. “We, every single year, offer one full-ride scholarship to an undocumented student who resides [illegally] in California… It’s called the Arnaldo Rodriguez scholarship, and all of the information can be found on our website,” Pitzer College admissions counselor JR Ramsey told the Independent. The school’s website states, “Pitzer College established the Arnaldo Rodriguez Scholarship in honor of the college’s former Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid” because of an experience Rodriguez had “meeting a high school student who was at the top of her class and had lived in the US all her life but didn’t qualify for any financial aid due to her undocumented status.”

The Pitzer College website states, “the need-based, four-year scholarship is awarded to top-performing students of Latin American descent who attended high school in California and are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.” These students also must fit a certain ethnic profile. “For people of full European descent, unfortunately [the scholarship] doesn’t apply,” Ramsey said. It follows from this that African and Asian students, too, are unqualified for the award, but Ramsey did remark “if you’re part-Latino, you’re fine” and “if you’re in DACA categorization, that still counts.”

The scholarship covers the costs of full-time tuition, student activities fees, housing, school-provided medical insurance and a meal plan. In total, this sums up to around $70,000 per year—more than a quarter of a million dollars over the course of an undergraduate education. The largest and only merit-based scholarship given by Pitzer, the Trustee Merit Scholarship, offers $5,000 per academic year—a tiny fraction of the amount given to undocumented immigrants—and does not increase with hikes in tuition and student fees as the Rodriguez scholarship does.

Undocumented applicants to Pitzer who do not receive this unique scholarship offer are treated the same as international applicants when considered for standard financial aid. “If your high school counselor is willing to put in a good word for you” in order to help an applicant receive this special scholarship, Ramsey stated, “they can shoot an email to Santiago Ybarra, the director of our office. It’s perfectly fine for them to reach out and talk about all the things you do in the community, the things you do in school, and why they think you’d be a great applicant not only for Pitzer, but also for what is embodied by that scholarship.”

Ramsey noted that few Pitzer students are undocumented. “We only have the flexibility to offer one scholarship [per year] through that fund,” he said, “but I will go ahead and insert a little plug for Pitzer while I’m on the phone with you and say even outside of the admission process, I think [undocumented students] find a lot of support here at Pitzer. The culture of our campus here helps students of that categorization thrive academically.”

Categories: Campus News
  • Dr. Necessitor

    Face it, illegal immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa almost certainly contribute much more to California’s economy on an individual basis than illegal Latinos, but the latter are far more numerous so they can raise the biggest stink to demand free stuff. The currency of the campus realm is outrage so this is no surprise.

  • Guy

    If Pitzer thinks it’s OK to give scholarships to people who are here illegally, those who can’t afford to go to Pitzer should just start showing up in classes and taking seats. What could Pitzer say? They shouldn’t be there?

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  • DS

    Shame you became such a right wing piece of shit. You were a nice guy freshman year. Just to be clear, if anyone in so-called Amerikkka is “illegal” it’s white people. This is occupied territory built on the genocide of the indigenous people whose land this is and so-called undocumented people are mostly people indigenous to other parts of this continent forced to cross this colonial border because of amerikkkan imperialism. Fuck you shitting on undocumented immigrants getting scholarships to go to your school.

  • JAQuilline

    What’s to stop anyone from applying for this? I mean, how could they ask you prove you are “undocumented”? Can’t prove a negative.

    I think a whole bunch of Americans should just apply. It’s a lot of good money!

  • Name

    I don’t know why this should surprise me anymore. We’re just giving huge buckets of money to people who didn’t even do anything for it except be undocumented and succeed a lot.

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