NJ could grant financial aid to undocumented immigrants

NEW JERSEY — Legislators in New Jersey have proposed a bill that would allow certain undocumented students to apply for state financial aid.

The bill, S-699, has passed a senate committee and still needs to be voted on by both houses, but it is something Gov. Phil Murphy has said he would support.

New York already allows DACA recipients to apply for and receive financial aid from the state.

"It will make this process so much easier,” said Esder Chong, a sophomore at Rutgers Newark.

Chong came to the United States from South Korea with her parents when she was 6.

She is studying business for her undergraduate degree and she wants to attend law school. But whether she can continue to the next semester is always an uncertainty.

"My part time job is applying for scholarships,” she said. "But also scholarships that do not have eligibility requirements of citizenship or permanent residency.”

Chong is editor of her college newspaper. She plays in a nonprofit orchestra and she runs track for Rutgers Newark. She also serves as the president of an on-campus club for undocumented immigrants.

"These are the most hardworking students that this country has,” Chong said. "They work full-time jobs and full-time school while affording tuition, their house rent, utilities and everything. Full-time jobs and school and afford house rent utilities everything."

If S-699 passes, undocumented students could begin applying for financial aid immediately for the 2018-19 school year.