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UNF grad ponies up for undocumented freshman with $2,000 in tuition help

Posted: July 9, 2014 - 3:27pm  |  Updated: July 9, 2014 - 6:32pm
Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Jacksonville, April 21, 2014, to host a College Affordability Roundtable with high school students and their parents. During the one-hour session they discussed college plans and goals, and the financial barriers that often exist. The roundtable took place at Duval County Public Schools' central administration building. Gov. Scott talks about his experiences in college as (from left) Sandalwood HS senior Tiffany Walter, Cyntia Cubas, sister of student Rolando Cordova, a senior at Wolfson HS listen.  Bob.Mack@jacksonville.com
Bob.Mack@jacksonville.com
Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Jacksonville, April 21, 2014, to host a College Affordability Roundtable with high school students and their parents. During the one-hour session they discussed college plans and goals, and the financial barriers that often exist. The roundtable took place at Duval County Public Schools' central administration building. Gov. Scott talks about his experiences in college as (from left) Sandalwood HS senior Tiffany Walter, Cyntia Cubas, sister of student Rolando Cordova, a senior at Wolfson HS listen.

As the weeks rolled on after graduation, Rolando Cordova saved paychecks from his summer job, hoping he’d raise enough to attend college.

Cordova, like many undocumented students in Florida, has to pay for all of his college costs out-of-pocket. Because he’s undocumented, he isn’t eligible for loans, Bright Futures or Pell Grants. The 18-year-old said his parents make about $20,000 a year, so they can’t afford to help him pay for college, and he hasn’t received private scholarships.

Orientation loomed around the corner, and the Wolfson High graduate had been able to save about $500, not enough for even one class. That’s when he received a donation from a University of North Florida graduate, who gave Cordova enough money to get him through his first semester at UNF.

Kimberly Olliff, a University of North Florida alumna, read about Cordova when the Florida Times-Union profiled him while covering a new state law that allows undocumented students to receive in-state tuition at public Florida universities.

Olliff, 26, decided to give Cordova $2,000 to help him along. Olliff said she grew up in Jacksonville’s Westside and will be teaching English in Germany this year.

When she was attending UNF, she said she also had to pay her way through college by working two jobs. She said she identified with Cordova’s story and wanted to help relieve some of that burden.

“It was a strong gut feeling,” she said. “I was in similar situation as Rolando in that my parents were unable to financially help me in any way.”

Cordova said he’s continuing to save money through a restaurant job and is searching for a second job. He’ll use the $2,500 he has saved to take at least two classes at UNF and will be a part-time student, paying his way through class by class as he saves up the money.

He plans to attend medical school one day and become a doctor.

“I’m not going to lose hope, that’s for sure,” Cordova said. “I’m going to keep going until the very end.”

He said he originally planned to enroll at Florida International University, but UNF was cheaper. UNF recently began offering in-state tuition for undocumented students to comply with a law passed by the Florida legislature this session.

“He’s so ambitious,” Olliff said of Cordova. “I can see the desire to work and succeed.”

 

Meredith Rutland: (904) 359-4161

Comments (5)

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Orchbass
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Orchbass 07/10/14 - 12:05 pm
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Premium Member

I, too, agree with Avatar.

I, too, agree with Avatar. While this college student is obviously an asset whom this country would benefit from having here, I can only think of my friends from other countries who have spent many years and countless thousands of dollars endeavoring to stay in our country legally. Some made it, many more were forced to return home.

To turn a blind eye toward and/or selectively enforce any any of this nation's laws, much less our immigration laws is a slap in the face to those who play by the rules and take the legal route in acquiring residency here.

Ideally, the red tape at becoming legal should be streamlined for immigrants who the country would benefit from having here and all who are here illegally should be sent back to their legal country of origin and allowed to apply under the new streamlined system.

Keith Johnson CPA
553
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Keith Johnson CPA 07/10/14 - 08:22 am
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Premium Member

I agree with Avatar. The key

I agree with Avatar. The key word here is LEGAL. No matter how much you feel for theae students, they are still breaking the law. Now if UNF allowed drug dealers and sex offenders on campus, theu would be consistent, but these illegal students are breaking the law. Should the get a path to citizenship? Yes. But dint give them any breaks while they are on that path. The people who did it righr should be offended

avatar
1860
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avatar 07/10/14 - 07:17 am
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0
Premium Member

Gunny & Morris: Granting

Gunny & Morris: Granting legal status to Rolando and the other millions of illegal aliens cannot have any effect but to worsen our illegal immigrant situation.

We have immigration laws. They should be followed, which is something that our Pres has stated that he will NOT do.

Lest it sound like I have no compassion for Ronaldo (and others like him - they are the kind of LEGAL immigrants we need), I applaud his efforts and accomplishments. But he is in this country illegally.

He should move out of this country, then go through the LEGAL immigration process just like the millions of other LEGAL immigrants in this country have done.

Morris_reader
10863
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Morris_reader 07/09/14 - 08:14 pm
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I totally agree with

I totally agree with gunny48.5.

I am sure Rolando will always be thankful of the nice young lady that gave him enough to get started. It is inspirational to read stories like this one. Someday this young man will be a doctor who may save some of us and help others along as well.

One big misunderstanding in the immigration debate is that these immigrants would not get citizenship right away. All that they would get is a temporary resident permit. This would not allow them to vote. It would only allow them to work and pay taxes. So it would benefit everyone because they would be identified, they would pay taxes, and would create more demand for houses, automoviles, and a million products that people needs. Such program helps the economy by creating more jobs due to increase in demand and local government benefit too from more people paying taxes. In the long run social security gets a boost from more young people paying into the system as well. Finally only after 5 or longer years those immigrants who so choose to can apply for citizenship but this it is not automatic.

gunny48.5
16213
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gunny48.5 07/09/14 - 05:54 pm
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Premium Member

Good luck to him. Not going

Good luck to him. Not going to ask his family's status but assume it is "undocumented" also. To those like him who are ALREADY here and doing the best they can to become a productive part of our society I wish the best and think a reasonable accommodation should be made to get them citizenship.

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