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July 11, 2011 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-07-11

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Monday, July 11, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Incoming freshman fights for U.S. citizenship

Facing deportation,
Michigan resident
voices her support of
the DREAM Act
Daily Staff Reporter
For incoming LSA freshman Ola
Kaso, the amount of time she will
study at the University is uncer-
tain. The University hasn't revoked
her admission and she isn't looking
into transferring - instead her
status as an illegal immigrant in
the United States is hindering her
from pursuing a post-secondary
Kaso, who is at risk of being
deported to her home country of
Albania after moving to the United
States with her mother when she
was five years old, recently tes-
tified in front of the U.S. Senate

Judiciary Committee Subcommit-
tee on Immigration, Refugees and
Border Security at a hearing on
June 28 in support of the DREAM
Act. Introduced by U.S. Senator
Carl Levin (D-Mich.), she shared
her story and appealed for the Act
to be passed.
"Despite my compliance with
the law, there is no way I can
obtain citizenship under current
law," Kaso said in her statement.
"Despite all my hard work and
contributions, I face removal from
the only country I have considered
Kaso graduated from Cousino
High School in Warren, Michigan
with a 4.4 grade point average and
is hoping to follow the pre-med
track at the University in order
to eventually become a surgical
oncologist, according to her state-
The DREAM Act would allow
children of undocumented immi-
grants like Kaso to be granted

citizenship as long as they fulfill
a list of requirements, including
being between the ages of 12 and
35, either graduating from high
school, obtaining a GED in the
United States or being accepted
into a higher educational institu-
tion, as well as living in the U.S. for
at least five consecutive years.
Silvia Pedraza, professor of
sociology and American culture,
has focused much of her studies on
immigration and said that while
there are laws that allow undocu-
mented children to obtain a high
school education - since no one
in the country, regardless of sta-
tus, is denied a basic education -
the public is divided on if higher
schooling should be allowed for
those who reside in the country
"The feelings about college are
different because people feel that
college is a privilege, that college is
something that you earn not some-
thing that you deserve," Pedraza

said. "But I have to say that in the
society in which we now live, a col-
lege degree is what a high school
degree was two generations ago: a
basic level of education that every-
body should have."
Sherrie Kossoudji, associate
professor in the School of Social
Work, said that since the Act has
been through U.S. Congress sev-
eral times, including in December
2010 when it failed to be passed to
the Senate by five votes, reintro-
ducing the Act keeps it fresh in the
public's memory. R
"It also helps to remind us that
lots of people who contribute or
hope to contribute to our society
just need a little help from us to
regularize their legal status," Kos-
soudji said.
However, Pedraza said it is diffi-
cult and rare for students like Kaso
to speak out for the Act because
it acknowledges that members of
their families are also undocu-
mented. Despite this, she said she

believes the number of students
who would be affected by the
DREAM Act is substantial.
"They want to put a human face
on it," Pedraza said. "They want
people to realize that they are stu-
dents, that they are young people,
that they are studying, that they
are doing well. That they are hav-
ing their lives and their hopes and
aspirations thwarted by not being
able to obtain a college education."
Pedraza added she is skepti-
cal about whether the Act will be
passed before the 2012 presiden-
tial election because it is a "politi-
cal hot football," which leaves an
entire year of waiting and worry-
ing for students like Kaso.
At the end of her statement,
Kaso acknowledged that a large
number of students like her would
be affected by the Act.
"There are thousands of other
Dreamers just like me," Kaso said.
"All we are asking for is a chance to
contribute to the country we love."


'U' to better prepare students

Obama instates new
plan to help students
land quality jobs after
college graduation
Daily StaffReporter
As part of an initiative to pro-
tect students from inadequate
career preparation programs, the
Obama administration recently
announced a new plan that aims
to assist students in finding post-
graduate employment.
The goal of the initiative is
to ensure the "gainfu4 employ-
ment" of students who've gradu-
ated, according to a June 2 United
States Department of Education
press release, something Kerin
Borland, director of the Universi-
ty Career Center, said University
studebts already experience.
In an e-mail interview, Bor-
land wrote that while the Uni-
versity provides vast resources
for assisting students in finding
jobs, they are ultimately respon-

sible for taking advantage of their
"The University provides
wonderful experiences and
strong academic programs for
our students," she wrote. "What
becomes most important for stu-
dents is how they frame those
experiences for prospective
employers, and articulate why
and how they will make contri-
butions to employing organiza-
Damian Zikakis, director of
career development at the Ross
School of Business, echoed Bor-
land's sentiment, saying he has
also witnessed many Univer-
sity students receiving jobs after
graduation. According to Zikakis,
approximately 89 percent of this
year's BBA graduates had at least
one job offer and 85 percent of
them had accepted a job by June
In addition to providing addi-
tional career assistance, the new
policy aids in helping students
pay off their loans, according to
the press release.
Specifically, the plan states
that in order for universities to

qualify for federal aid in for-
profit programs and certificate
programs at non-profit and pub-
lit institutions, they must follow
three regulations: 35 percent of
former students at a given uni-
versity must be repaying their
loans, the loans owed by a stu-
dent do not exceed 30 percent
of their income and the annual
loan payment doesn't exceed 12
percent of the student's total
Margaret Rodriguez, senior
associate director of the office of
Financial Aid, wrote in an e-mail
interview that the goal of the
University's need-based grant
program is to reduce the amount
of money students borrow in
order to help the most students
possible attend the University.
"The current fiscal year,
2010-2011, resulted in the larg-
est-ever amount of financial
aid in (University) history at
$126 million," Rodriguez wrote.
"Notably, 70 percent of our
undergrads receive some type of
financial aid, and families with
incomes at or below $80,000 are
paying less than in 2004."

Ann Arbor resident Brenda Harvey visits the University's Natural History Muse-
um to see the life-sized head of a whale that lived more than 37 million years ago.

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