The University of Notre Dame will begin admitting illegal immigrants to the school and will provide them with financial aid, saying the move will “strengthen” the student body.
The university had never had an official ban on illegal immigrants, but Inside Higher Ed reported the school treated them as international students and required them to have student visas — which effectively served as a bar.
“We will strengthen our incoming class and give deserving young people the chance for a Notre Dame education,” Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said in a statement announcing the policy Thursday.
The university also said it “is committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need for all admitted students.” Illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal student aid, but the university’s announcement signals that Notre Dame would make up the difference between the cost and what the student and his or her family can afford.
Notre Dame is a Catholic school, run by the Congregation of Holy Cross. It is located in Indiana.
A school spokesman didn’t return a call seeking comment.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has backed integrating illegal immigrants into American society, including supporting legalization for the estimated 11 million immigrants believed to be in this country illegally.
President Obama last year took steps to try to shield many young illegal immigrants from deportation and give them tentative legal status when he announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.
Under that policy, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who have earned their high school diploma are granted a proactive stay of deportation, allowing them to live and work in the U.S.
As of the end of July, 430,236 people had been granted status under DACA.