A group of Texas Democrats in the U.S. House have called on colleges to set aside financial aid for students who come from illegal immigrant families. This follows multiple reports of students being unable to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid because their parents do not have Social Security numbers. 

The group of Democrat lawmakers led by U.S. Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Dallas includes Reps. Greg Casar and Lloyd Doggett of Austin; Joaquin Castro of San Antonio; Colin Allred of Dallas; Veronica Escobar of El Paso; Sylvia Garcia, Al Green, and Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston; and Marc Veasey of Fort Worth.

The revamped FAFSA application, which was launched this year, has prevented parents who do not have a Social Security number from completing their financial information portion within the document. 

Following this discovery, the 10 Democrats have signed an open letter calling on all Texas colleges to “track the amount of financial aid that went to similarly situated students last year to ensure it remains available until the Department of Education certifies that this issue has been resolved.”

Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, told Texas Scorecard that instead of rewarding illegal alien families with financial aid, the government should be discouraging illegal immigration.

“Neither the federal government nor state governments should be making exceptions in the financial aid process for people who are in the country illegally,” said Vaughan. “Instead, the government should be trying to discourage and prevent illegal immigration to avoid such fiscal costs, which already run into the billions annually.”

FAFSA is the nation’s largest provider of student aid, assisting more than 10 million students—and 1.6 million Texas students—with paying for college each year through grants and loans. 

Currently, students applying for FAFSA must be U.S. citizens or have a legal immigration status. However, according to a recent study, one in four children living in Texas—around 1.8 million—live with at least one non-citizen parent.

In late February, the Department of Education allowed students whose parents do not have a Social Security number to apply for financial aid due to an unexpected glitch in the revamped FAFSA application. 

Parents without a Social Security number can instead enter their financial information manually, while other contributors can get the Internal Revenue Service to pull their information from their tax filings. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.