ACLU Of Georgia Investigation Reveals Erroneous Application Of Policy Limiting Undocumented Students’ Access To Higher Education

Affiliate: ACLU of Georgia
April 13, 2011 12:00 am

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Board Of Regents Should Repeal Discriminatory Policy Immediately, Says ACLU of Georgia

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Atlanta – The ACLU of Georgia issued a letter Tuesday to the Board of Regents Chancellor calling for repeal of Policy 4.1.6, the discriminatory policy that denies access to higher education for undocumented students at the five most selective institutions in the University System of Georgia (USG). An ACLU of Georgia investigation has found that several schools not covered by this policy appear to have improperly conditioned acceptance or registration for Fall 2011 upon verification of students’ lawful presence in the United States, potentially cutting off any and all access to higher education for undocumented students.

“We have learned that this discriminatory policy has had even more damaging consequences, as it is being widely misinterpreted and misapplied,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director at the ACLU of Georgia. “Such practices mislead students as to the actual admission and registration requirements at USG schools and raise significant privacy concerns by inquiring into student immigration status without a basis for doing so.”

Several USG institutions that are not among the five institutions covered by Policy 4.1.6 have indicated in their admissions materials that acceptance or registration for Fall 2011 is contingent on verification of lawful presence. These include the North Georgia College & State University, Valdosta State University, and Augusta State University. Similarly, numerous USG institutions, including East Georgia College, Georgia Highlands College, and Georgia Southern University, erroneously suggest that the Board of Regents policy regarding verification of lawful status solely for purposes of receiving in-state tuition (Policy 4.3.4) requires verification of lawful presence for acceptance or registration.

The ACLU of Georgia letter urges the Chancellor to, at a minimum, instruct USG institutions as to the limited application of Policies 4.1.6 and 4.3.4 and direct all USG institutions to immediately remove all erroneous information regarding the policies from their admissions and registration materials.

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