As Notre Dame students return to campus for another year of school, word is starting to spread about a university decision to soon allow undocumented students to apply for admission.
The university says those young men and women deserve a chance at a quality college education, even if they aren't legal U.S. citizens.
“They’re coming here in hopes for a better life so I think this is definitely a good thing for them and for us,” said Monica Barboza, a freshman.
Her family came to the U.S. from Costa Rica and settled in Pennsylvania.
They're U.S. citizens, but Barboza doesn't think that should stop someone from being able to share the college experience.
“If that person is going to make my child better in a way that is going to expose her to needs that maybe we all take for granted, then I wouldn't mind it,” said Barboza’s mom, Sandra Trejos.
Starting in fall 2014, Notre Dame will allow undocumented students who grew up in the U.S., graduated from high school, and meet the university's academic requirements, to attend college there.
“We felt that after some evaluation that this was something we should do as part of our mission as a Catholic university,” said Dennis Brown, university spokesman.
The university says its decision will strengthen the incoming class, but some students worry about the message it sends.
“The university definitely chooses to enforce every other law on campus, such as drinking, which is known by every student, or the drug policy, which is very strongly enforced, yet it sends an inconsistent and sometimes confusing message to then ignore the fact that undocumented students are really illegal aliens,” said Mark Gianfalla, president of the Notre Dame College Republicans.
Notre Dame will not be the first university to admit undocumented students.
Santa Clara University has a similar policy. And earlier this summer the University of Michigan made undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition.