Things That Matter

Undocumented Immigrants In North Carolina Aren’t Eligible For Financial Aid, But This Woman Found A Way To Help Undocumented High School Students Who Want To Continue Their Education

This woman’s pupusa food truck raises scholarship money for un…

This woman is using her food truck to help undocumented immigrants pay for college

Posted by NowThis Her on Sunday, June 25, 2017

“We are unapologetic about who we are helping.”

If you are an undocumented student in North Carolina, affording higher education might seem like a daunting prospect. Currently, undocumented people and DACA beneficiaries are not eligible for in-state tuition in North Carolina. According to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s admissions page, the average cost for an out-of-state student to attend is around $53,100 for the 2017-2018 academic year. For reference, the estimated cost for an in-state student at the same university is about $25,876.

That’s where Cecilia Polanco and So Good Pupusas come in. So Good Pupusas was started by Polanco and her family with a mission to help undocumented people get to college and ease the cost, even if by a little bit. Polanco, who was a first-generation student at UNC at Chapel Hill and benefited from scholarships herself, wanted to help undocumented high school seniors in North Carolina afford a higher education. The scholarships offered by So Good Pupusas doesn’t cover the full cost of college but they do offer two $1,000 scholarships that can be renewed every year.

“I started thinking about my part in the larger community and about how I was blessed to have received a number of scholarships to graduate debt-free,” Polanco told Independent Weekly. She added: “Scholarships really changed my life before I even stepped foot onto the campus.”

So Good Pupusas currently offers two $1,000 scholarships for undocumented students to ease their financial burden of a higher education. Polanco hopes to eventually get those scholarships up to $8,000. The scholarships, according to the So Good Pupusas website, are exclusively for undocumented high school seniors. While the application process for the fall semester is closed, there will be a chance for undocumented students to apply for the following semester.


READ: The Days Are Numbered For These Iconic Food Trucks In The Santa Ana Area

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People In The US Find It Easier To Flee The Country Than Pay Back High Student Loan Debts

Things That Matter

People In The US Find It Easier To Flee The Country Than Pay Back High Student Loan Debts

Joe Brusky / Flickr

Financial analysts have long predicted that the next bubble that will burst and lay damage on the economy of the United States (y por ende of the whole world) is the student debt bubble. Millions of college graduates owe so much money as a result of their graduate degrees that it will take a good amount of years before they can enjoy a clean slate, un nuevo inicio with no malditas deudas. As employment prospects grow dimmer in troubling financial times, these graduates just can’t get the jobs that will allow them to live comfortable, grow their wealth, and pay their student loans. It is a monetary bottleneck that has everyone scratching their heads. What to do? Condone debt and give people with university degrees a chance? That is sort of unfeasible, as the financial system is sustained through futures, bonds and the selling and buying of debt, so sometime, somewhere, there would be a huge hole in the system.

Some graduates are finding an alternative that is as legally tricky as it is ethically controversial: they are leaving the United States to avoid paying their debts. Some live in Europe, others look for alternative citizenships based on their heritage and some others just migrate to places like Australia, where Anglo migration (read, white migration!) is given a free pass even if their visa status is not crystal clear.

This option has sparked fiery debates on the Internet, as more and more news outlets report on members of an arguably lost generation who chose to leave rather than to live in debt. 

Vice published an article on Americans who now live almost debt-free in Europe. This happened all the way back in 2016, so this is not quite new.

Credit: @FeministGriote / Twitter

The phenomenon has been present for at least three years (could the election of POTUS be a factor, we guess?). Anyway, users such as Sister Outsider were not happy at all is that who the country is, she asked? 

Others thought that this was a very smart move because student loan debt interest rates are nearly impossible to overcome.

Credit: @Hippington / Twitter

This dude James Hipp seems to take it a bit more lightly. Well, anything goes eh?

The article sparked some seriously opposing views, despite the growing fear that millions of students will remain in debt indefinitely.

Credit: @that1laura / @Mchacon49r / Twitter

These two couldn’t possibly be farther apart in their views. One calls these “Debt Dodgers” as the VICE article called them, “selfish, entitled, and arrogant”. Meanwhile, a user who is actually wearing graduation regalia simply says that she doesn’t blame them. Perhaps she is facing similar fears and uncertainty in terms of her future in the workplace. Because let’s be honest: things are pretty grim the world over. Not to mention that there have been recent articles about people entering retirement with student loan debt left to pay.

Some people just don’t understand how someone could run from their student loans.

Credit: @xavifred / Twitter

Did Xavi dude just calls them “deadbeats”, huevonesperezosos. But sometimes these are people who actually want to work, but find little or no prospects at home and look for a better horizon. Isn’t that what the immigrant spirit is made up from?

Just last year a CNBC article set fire to Twitter over the same issue.

Credit: @airfarceone / Twitter

This user, who we assume is a conservative Internet keyboard warrior, equates debt dodgers with the young men who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War. Is this a fair comparison? Yes, they decided to get an education, but this is the core of the controversy: should education be a right or a privilege?

Should some people just not go to college? @AlephBlog seems to think so.

Credit: @AlephBlog / Twitter

The CNBN article told the story of a graduate in debt who now lives in India, caring for elephants. User David Merkel simply says that these people should not go to college at all. Is he right? His savage judgment evidences a worldview in black and white. Obviously, people don’t want to leave.

No one asked them to go to university? Well, things are a bit more complicated than that, @TeresaGillia.

Credit: @TeresaGillia / Twitter

The contemporary social and financial status quo demands that young people acquire skills in information management and professional work. Manual work in the United States is generally underpaid, so if folk want to get ahead in life a university education seems to be the only way. So the choice is limited: yes, young people can choose not to go to university, but in doing so are risking not advancing in life, in monetary terms. But what happens when people get a degree, work hard and still see no descanso in sight?

User Jim Robinson has a point: the banks and other financial institutions are also to blame.

Credit: @ThatJimR / Twitter

Just as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis revealed (you can see it explained with peras y manzanas in the movie The Big Short), the addiction to debt and the trigger happy nature of the banking system has generated a lot of immediate wealth that ultimately leads to financial ruin. Banks have chosen to loan so much money knowing that students won’t be able to pay it back, that their bad decisions have come to bite everyone en el culo. Jim Robinson is right: some loans are indiscriminate. These financial practices border criminality de cuello blanco

Student debt has been on everyone’s mind this past month, ever since this billionaire wiped off the debt of an entire graduating class.

Credit: @ijsvv / Twitter

It might seem to be the feel-good story of the month, but the fact that Robert F. Smith made this magnificent donation and gave a whole class of students an Oprah-like moment is more like the symptom of a broken system, rather than a sign of pure goodwill. He must have looked at all those young people, mostly Black, and knew that they would face a lot of hardship unless he interfered, that the joy of graduation would soon turn into the darkness of precarious financial prospects.

Let’s get some context on the current political climate: this tweet sort of sums up what many are facing.

Credit: @rideatdawn/ Twiter

At the other end of the political spectrum, we find another millionaire, Betsy DeVos, the US Secretary of Education, who is actually cutting the budget for debt forgiveness. This tweet captures the feeling that many are having at the moment: any life-changing step (such as having kids or buying a house) is stalled due to the lack of support that the government is able or willing to give to those taking their first steps into adult life. What is the solution?

 The “Debt dodger” controversy got new traction a few days ago.

Credit: @lany891 / Twitter

New reports point to a spike to this trend, and the conversation has gained momentum given the prominence that the student debt crisis has had leading to the presidential election next year. This user references the plan drawn by Dem presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who proposes to wipe out student debt by taxing the wealthy. According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll, 56% of registered voters support the Massachusetts senator’s proposal. It is hard to judge either side, but something’s gotta give and the student debt crisis will either puncture or strengthen the idea of the American Dream (our take, solidarity is always best).

READ: The SATs Have A Problematic And Racist History Fueled By The Creator Of The Test Who Praised Eugenics And Racial Separation

Here’s A Collection Of Grad Caps That Are Giving All Of The Credit To Their Immigrant Parents And Grandparents

Culture

Here’s A Collection Of Grad Caps That Are Giving All Of The Credit To Their Immigrant Parents And Grandparents

stickydelcaco / jcrafts.business / Instagram

One of the most significant moments for migrant families is a graduation ceremony. These are often the culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice and sometimes struggle from those who arrived to the United States (or any other developed country) first. Some of these families have gone through truly epic journeys that span generations and are full of struggles, luck, and love. A college graduation in any Latino familia es la gran cosa where the whole family participates and, most importantly, feels incredibly proud of academic achievements.

We all know that Latinos at graduation know the struggle of making sure the whole family is included. 

Credit: chuntigram / Instagram

Second generation Latinos are an important part of the workforce and are helping shape U.S. culture. However, there is still much more to do in terms of getting Latino youth in college. According to The Hechinger Report, “fewer than a quarter, or 22.6 percent, of Latino Americans ages 25 to 64 held a two-year college degree or higher in 2016.” The policies implemented by the current administration, particularly in relation to the Dreamer Act, threaten to make that gap even bigger.

Here are some examples of graduation regalia, and even cakes, that scream estamos orgullosos de ser Latinos y immigranters. If you’re reading this and are doubtful about going to college, here’s our advice: do it! It will be beneficial to you and your community. Education is one of the best paths towards personal and community betterment. As Latino presence becomes stronger in areas such as politics and business, we will need more prepared young people of Hispanic heritage. Many of you have an advantage already: you are bilingual. How many gringos can say the same?

This florecita rebelde is everything we never knew we needed.

Credit: huertaolivia / Instagram

We just adore Olivia’s whole outfit, which screams Latino power. From the vivid colors on her dress to the awesome flower arrangement on her cap, which is big and makes a bold statement: we are vivarachos and proud of it. Nothing more powerful to celebrate the cultural melting pot that is the US than to showcase your culture.

Some of these caps just show how proud people are of being Latino.

Credit: paula_yannet / Instagram

One thing that Latinas, in particular, are doing in the United States is smashing the glass ceilings imposed by Anglo culture and the patriarchy. The message on this amazing young woman’s cap says it all: “Latina breaking statistics”. SI SE PUEDE.

Say it conmigo: Dominican brains and attitude can’t be beaten.

Credit: leo_navarro91 / Instagram

We love this amazing graduation cap that sends a clear message: proud to be Dominican. Among U.S. Latinos, Dominicans are both recipients of stupid prejudices and owners of a rich culture. Graduates from this community include, for example, Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz, who writes in Spanglish and has slain grammatical conventions of what “proper” English is supposed to be.

There’s nothing more powerful than an immigrant superstar.

Credit: a_rod719 / Instagram

We just love this graduation cap from a chicano young man. It is sparkly, reminds us of “American Idol”and tells a truth that is uncomfortable for some cabrones conservadores: immigration brings cultural and intellectual richness to any country.

Yes we can esa es la actitud, compadre.

Credit: alex_joyous / Instagram

One of the mottos of the Mexican-American community is: si se pudo. Its literal translation is “Yes we can” (sounds familiar? did anyone say Obama circa 2008?). This is the type of attitude that gets many Latinos through college, which can be a challenge not only academically, but also in terms of social inclusion. The stickers are interesting. They kinda remind us of childhood scrapbooks.

Some of these grad caps are truly works of art.

Credit: stickydecalco / Instagram

We love this one. It takes a quote from the famous song “Imagine” by John Lennon and turns it into a statement about the Dreamer generation. Can we send this to the White House, porfas? 

You can always show your own pride for your immigrant parents using this mitú grad cap sticker.

Credit: mitú

Your parents came here for a reason, mijo, and you’ve made them happier than you will ever know. That’s why our “Proud Son Of Immigrants” Graduation Cap Sticker is the perfect way to tell them you’re proud of your roots!

Anti-immigration rhetoric is really, really a real pendejada and we can’t let it happen anymore.

Credit: stickydecalco / Instagram

Words are powerful, and the way in which a certain politician with the initials DT described Mexican immigrants has caused a lot of harm in terms of U.S.-Mexico relations, as well as in how whole communities are treated. That is why we love this graduation cap: it makes a clear political statement. This amazing girl is the face of millions of talented migrants who are not gang members or drug dealers: they are spirited, resilient and the true face of today’s American Dream. 

The sentiment behind this grad cap is as beautiful as the rainbow in the background.

Credit: stickydecalco / Instagram

The message on the cap reads: “To my parents, who arrived with nothing and gave me everything.” This is giving us serious feels. The story of so many families that have made the United States their home and whose kids are now thriving as trabajo duro has paid off.

This seriously gives us butterflies in our panzas.

Credit: stickydecalco / Instagram

This message is quite poetic and amazing. “(I am here) because of the roots you gave me, which turned into wings. Thanks, mom and dad”. This girl is totally thankful for her viejitos and acknowledges that being true to oneself, to our roots, is where any success story begins.

Charro stoles? Yes, por favor.

Credit: casitamadgalena / Instagram

This is a big trend in Latino regalia. These stoles fashioned in the style of Mexican ponchos are both cool and scream pride. There are many possible color combos, and they can be personalized. It would be a great graduation gift for your carnales or primos.

First-generation college grads are setting a standard that will change the course of their family history.

Credit: jcrafts.business / Instagram

The Mexican flag is the hero of this graduation cap that reveals how finishing college is not a personal effort. Behind every sleepless night studying there is a family that offers support and care, and whose efforts have led to the stage. 

A beautiful day indeed. Congrats, graduate.

Credit: stickydecalco / Instagram

One of the main obstacles professional young women face is that whenever they are assertive in demonstrating their talent, they are immediately categorized as show-offs. That is why we love this cap that celebrates those women that do not hold back in giving themselves a big thumbs up (AOC, we hear ya!).

There is something so sweet about people giving their parents the most important acknowledgment.

Credit: Instagram. @stickydecalco

This is one of our favorites. It reads: “They worked with their hands so I could work with my mind. Thanks, dad and mom.” Many migrants have to make a living through manual work, which is often unjustly paid. This cap is a great gracias for parental efforts that allow the younger generations to enter the professional world. We are sure this kid’s mum and dad were bursting with orgullo.

Immigration makes the world go round and keeps economies growing and thriving. #FACT

Credit: web. Digital image. Refinery 29. 

Another political statement. It does not need further explanation. We love it. There is no reason why people should fear immigrants from entering the workforce. After all, if you are as good as you say you are, then an immigrant wouldn’t be able to “steal your job.”

Gratitude is the attitude that keeps us all connected with our familias.

Credit: @_nancybarragan / Twitter

Migrating to a different country, particularly if it is done the hard way, is not an easy feat. There is nothing that gives a migrant parent as much joy as seeing their offspring walk the stake and throw their caps to the sky. We love Nancy and her cute family, and we wish her the absolute best for the years to come.

Let’s celebrate the Venezuelan style and give our parents something to celebrate.

Credit: mappyscake / Instagram

Of course, there are also colorful and very Latino graduation cakes such as this one that showcases Venezuelan culture. It might not be a cap but it is something that definitely speaks to our experience in a family of immigrants.

Congratulations to all of the graduates from high school and college who are making a mark on this world.

READ: 22 #Immigrad Graduation Caps That No Dummy Can Ignore

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