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City To Train School Counselors On College Benefits For Undocumented Immigrants

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Emanuel administration has begun training staff at the Chicago Public Schools on college opportunities for the children of undocumented immigrants.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, on the campus of DePaul University, the city is holding two days of training for CPS guidance counselors, college advisers, and other employees about the Illinois DREAM Act, scholarship programs, and other initiatives for young immigrants.

“This is the first … school system in the country that’s requiring training for counselors on how to advise undocumented students on their pathways to college,” said Adolfo Hernandez, the director of the city’s Office of New Americans.

The Illinois DREAM Act established a panel to raise private money for college scholarships, and let the children of immigrants joins state-sponsored programs that help them invest money and save for college.

Hernandez said there’s a lot of outreach involved in letting such students know about the programs they can apply for to help them pay for college.

“A lot of these young people don’t know their undocumented until they start applying for licenses, or for financial aid from the federal government, and so they face additional barriers,” he said. “We want to make it clear to them.”

To qualify for the college savings pool, students must have a Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. Scholarship recipients must have at least one immigrant parent and the student must have attended school in Illinois for at least three years.

School officials estimated there could be 40,000 undocumented immigrant students attending CPS.

“They can attend college or university in Illinois, and they have benefits like in-state tuition, access to the Illinois DREAM Fund, access to the college savings program,” Hernandez said. “They can apply for the president’s deferred action policy, which will give them a reprieve from deportation.”