My name is Selina Armenta and I am a fall class of 2017 UW-Madison graduate. At UW-Madison I majored in Legal Studies and minored in both Criminal Justice and Chican@ Latin@ Studies. I have been passionate about the law and helping my community for a long time and that is why I aspire to eventually go to law school and become an attorney.
I immigrated to the United States from Mexico at the age three. Since then, I have been raised in Madison, Wisconsin, so naturally, attending UW-Madison was always a dream of mine. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition scholarship to UW-Madison and it is for that reason that I was able to obtain a college education at one of the top public universities in the world.
You see, I am undocumented and come from a low income background. Without that full-tuition scholarship, a four year university like UW-Madison was not an option.
Wisconsin is what some call a “locked out state.” This means that in Wisconsin, undocumented students are forced to pay out-of-state tuition at public colleges and universities, despite the fact that many of us have been Wisconsin residents for most of our lives.
From 2009 to 2011, under Governor Doyle, qualified undocumented students were eligible for in-state tuition, Governor Walker revoked that eligibility in 2011. Since then, multiple bills have been introduced by Wisconsin legislature, that would extend in-state tuition to qualifying undocumented students, but have failed to pass.
Due to the high cost of out-of-state tuition and the current anti-immigrant climate, my goal of attending law school has been put on hold. Thousands of undocumented students are losing hope of being able to obtain a college education. Like myself, these students only want the opportunity to obtain a college degree in order to give back to this state that we know as home.
Currently, there are 7,600 undocumented young people registered under DACA who are denied in-state tuition in Wisconsin. 18 other states already allow undocumented students the chance at an affordable college education and it’s time Wisconsin joins them.
Add your name to call on Wisconsin legislators to pass tuition equity legislation introduced by Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, in support of young undocumented Wisconsinites who want the opportunity to pursue a college degree.