Jessica Mendoza ’12, financial economics, appeared on WYPR’s morning news report February 16 to discuss the current debate in Annapolis over in-state college tuition for students who have graduated from Maryland high schools and whose parents pay taxes, but who are undocumented immigrants. Such students are often required to pay international student tuition rates at U.S. public colleges, which is prohibitively expensive for many. This is problematic, says Mendoza, because many of these students were brought to the United States at a very young age and do not know they are here illegally until they apply for college. “Sometimes, their parents don’t tell them until that time arrives,” she said.
Mendoza moved to Maryland legally with her family from Peru at age 15, and now counsels and advocates for younger Hispanic students. In addition to her studies, she has worked for Baltimore County’s Office of Fair Practices and volunteered for U.S. Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur Education (USHYEE).