Higher education is a major issue when it comes to the immigration debate. There are so many young illegal immigrants, may they be DACA recipients or not, who know nothing but their lives in the United States — and yet, because they were born outside the country, they have a difficult time achieving their life goals. Going to college; getting a good job; fulfilling their potential; these are the dreams of many U.S. citizens who probably think of it as “the normal thing to do.”

But for illegal immigrants, it’s a different story. There is an issue they face after going to college (if they are legally accepted at a college) that most will not deal with: the prospect of having no employment simply because of their illegal status. It’s a touchy subject — but really, this should be about the young people (illegal or not) trying to better themselves. Recent legislation only points to good news in that regard for illegal immigrants.

One of the big hurdles illegal immigrants have to jump to get into college is finances. It can be very difficult for them to pay their way through college, especially without support from the university or through a scholarship. The California DREAM Act allows illegal immigrants attending a public California university or institution to receive scholarships (the stipulation is that the individual must have attended at least three years of high school in California to qualify).

That’s a boost for many illegal immigrants seeking to further themselves — but the University of California at Berkeley is looking to go even further. A private institution recently donated $1 million to the school to be used for scholarships which will exclusively available to illegal immigrants. Roughly 200 students are expected to receive financial aid because of this donation, many (if not all) had no support previously from federal loans or grants.

Source: Reuters, “California’s Berkeley to give college scholarships to illegal immigrants,” Mary Slosson, Dec. 11, 2012