Things That Matter

Arizona’s Supreme Court Has Barred Universities From Offering DACA Students In-State Tuition

Beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are now facing a whole new battle. DACA recipients who live in Arizona will now have to pay out-of-state tuition in their home state, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled on April 9.

According to The Washington Post, 2,000 DACA recipients in Arizona — who either go to a state school or community in college — will now have to pay three times the amount. For example, The Post reports that tuition at Arizona State University is $9,834 for in-state students. For out-of-state students, tuition is $27,618. At Maricopa Community Colleges credit for Arizona residents is $86, for out-of-state students, it is $241.

Chief Justice Scott Bales said he made the ruling now to give Dreamers “as much time as possible for planning.” The full ruling will be made in mid-May, The Post reports.

Advocates are stunned by the decision to hinder the access to education for DACA recipients.

According to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), 20 states and Washington D.C. offer “tuition equality” for undocumented people. Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

For some people, the decision is a rallying cry to fight for a permanent solution for the undocumented community.

And many are very disappointed that the rights of DACA students are now in jeopardy.

DACA recipients are in large numbers students or in the workforce. They have no criminal records in order to qualify for DACA. Yet, DACA has been in the news as political figures have tried to muddy the water around DACA to tarnish the importance of the program.

Karina Ruiz, executive director of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, gave a news conference following the announcement.

Ruiz said that the ruling “shows that the politicians are going to continue their attacks on our community.” She said the higher tuition is now going to hinder students from going to college. However, she added that her organization is going to raise money to help with the additional cost. “We’re going to find help for you.”


READ: First DACA Recipient To Be Deported Sues Trump Administration

What do you think about this tuition hike for Dreamers? Let us know in the comment section below!

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A Judge Has Ruled That The University of California System Can No Longer Use SAT And ACT Tests For Admissions And It’s A Huge Win For The Underprivileged

Things That Matter

A Judge Has Ruled That The University of California System Can No Longer Use SAT And ACT Tests For Admissions And It’s A Huge Win For The Underprivileged

Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Advocates against the use of standardized tests for college admissions have long argued that the use of such exams sets back students from underprivileged backgrounds and those who have disabilities. Aware of the leg up it gives to privileged and non-disabled students an advantage in the admittance process, they’ve rallied for schools to end such practices.

And it looks like they’ve just won their argument.

A judge has ruled that the University of California system can no longer use ACT and SAT tests as part of their admissions process.

Brad Seligman is the Alameda County Superior Court Judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California on Tuesday. The plaintiffs in Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California include five students and six organizations College Access Plan, Little Manila Rising, Dolores Huerta Foundation, College Seekers, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Community Coalition.

In his decision, Judge Seligman underlined that the UC system’s “test-optional” policy on UC campuses has long given privileged and non-disabled students a chance at a “second look” in the admissions process. According to Seligman, this “second look” denies such opportunities to students who are unable to access the tests.

The decision is a major victory for students with disabilities and from underprivileged backgrounds.

News of the decision comes on the heels of the university system’s ruling to waive the standardized testing requirements until 2024.

In May, a news release asserted that if a new form of a standardized test had not been developed by 2025, the system would have to put an end to the testing requirement for California students. On Monday, the judge’s ruling took things further by banning the consideration of scores from students who submit them all together.

“The current COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions in the availability of test sites,” Seligman wrote in his ruling. “While test-taking opportunities for all students have been limited, for persons with disabilities, the ability to obtain accommodations or even to locate suitable test locations for the test is ‘almost nil.'”

A spokesperson for the University of California said the university “respectfully disagrees with the Court’s ruling.”

“An injunction may interfere with the University’s efforts to implement an appropriate and comprehensive admissions policies and its ability to attract and enroll students of diverse backgrounds and experiences,” the spokesperson said. According to the spokesperson, the UC system is considering further legal action in the case. The system said that its testing has allowed for an increase in admission of low-income and first-generation-to-college-students for the fall of 2020.

With UC being the largest university system in the country, Seligman’s ruling is a massive deal. Students and advocates have long fought for the elimination of these standardized tests arguing that they do not accurately reflect a student’s academic ability.

“Research has repeatedly proved that students from wealthy families score higher on the SAT and ACT, compared to students from low-income families,” reports CNN. It’s important to note that the analysis by Inside Higher Ed revealed that the “lowest average scores for each part of the SAT came from students with less than $20,000 in family income. The highest scores came from those with more than $200,000 in family income.”

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An Arizona Hiker Fell 70 Feet Into A Canyon And Was Stuck There For 24 Hours— ‘I’m Lucky’

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An Arizona Hiker Fell 70 Feet Into A Canyon And Was Stuck There For 24 Hours— ‘I’m Lucky’

Sean Gallup / Getty

In 2003, the story of Aron Ralston a hiker who became trapped by a boulder in an isolated canyon located in Utah for 127 hours went viral. Well, at least whatever form of viral was popular in the early aughts. Anyway, the story about his experience was ultimately reimagined as a biographical film starring James Franco and directed by Danny Boyle.

Now, a similar story about an Arizona man trapped in a canyon for 24 hours is making the rounds. And we can’t help but wonder if it will also get the Hollywood treatment. Mostly because his story of survival is pretty incredible.

Jacob Velarde was hiking on a solo trail last Tuesday when he fell almost 70 feet into a canyon.

Velarde had been hiking along the Indian Maiden Falls trail when the area he was hiking on fell apart beneath him. The 24-year-old plummeted seven stories below the surface and found himself stranded in the canyon with a broken nose, broken ankle, multiple gashes, as well as severe bruises. He also sustained a skull fracture and orbital fracture.

Velarde laid in the canyon by himself for all of those hours until a family that was also on a hike discovered and rescued him.

Speaking about the incident Velarde told People, “Right now, I just feel blessed. In all honesty, I shouldn’t have been able to survive a fall like that.”

Speaking to NBC affiliate KPNX, Velarde explained that he is an experienced hiker who goes on hikes about once a month. Initially, Velarde had set out to go on a 12-mile overnight trip with his brother but after seeing the rocky and steep terrain of the hike within the first mile of the trail his brother backed out.

Determined to make the hike, Velarde left his brother with the car keys and decided to meet up with him the next day.

The next morning, at around 8 a.m., Velarde said he made a wrong turn in an area of the trail that ultimately caved in when he walked across it.

Warning: graphic photo of meFor those of you that dont know, I had a pretty serious accident on my hike Tuesday, I am…

Posted by Jacob Velarde on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Speaking with People, Velarde said that didn’t remember much when the fall occurred because “it just happened so fast.”

“Doctors said I’m lucky that I’m not more injured,” Velarde wrote in a post to his Facebook page. Velarde explained that his ability to survive was likely all thanks to his past experiences as a Boy Scout and a set of EMT lessons he took in college.

“It was a bit scary and painful, but it was all about keeping my injuries from getting worse and staying hydrated,” he told People. “With the knowledge, I had from both of those, I knew that I’d be able to take care of myself. I figured that if I was able to survive the fall, I knew I’d survive the rest.”

Velarde underlined that he felt confident that he would be found because his brother was expecting him. “My brother knew where I was and was expecting me the next day by noon,” he said. “He would have called for help to save me.”

Fortunately, Velarde didn’t have to wait for his brother. The family of hikers found him the next morning. “I honestly thought I was imagining them, but I was extremely excited,” Velarde explained. Soon after the family called for help, first responders airlifted Velarde to a nearby hospital.

“I just want to make sure everyone knows the risks and that it’s better just playing it safe on a hike,” Velarde explained of his reason for sharing his story. “I probably won’t be doing any solo hikes soon, but eventually, I will be doing it again. I’ll just be more prepared and safe [next time.]”

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