I.D.E.A.S. club members oppose the prospect for tuition increase

I.D.E.A.S. (Improving Dreams Equality Access Success), a student advocacy club at Santa Monica College, is strongly opposed to the recent talks of raising tuition fees for the summer and winter sessions. A few of their members were present at the Board of Trustees meeting last week to protest. “A lot of undocumented students already have trouble paying their tuition, and with this new fee controversy, their education has been put in jeopardy,” said Mohammad Jehangir, co-chair of I.D.E.A.S..

Undocumented students have a more difficult time transferring because they usually come from low-income families with limited resources to get funding for education.

“As a club, we try to fight the negative connotations of being an undocumented student. We try to clear up misconceptions that the general public may have of us,” said Jehangir

Soledad Sanchez, also co-chair of I.D.E.A.S., is an undocumented student. Sanchez feels that being undocumented creates a barrier of financial hardship that documented students are not familiar with. “I’m highly motivated to succeed; being undocumented is an obstacle I have to overcome,” she said.

“We try to give students all the right information about what their options are for furthering their education and spreading awareness. I think everyone is entitled to higher education,” said Sanchez.

I.D.E.A.S. is a support group for undocumented and underprivileged students. It provides them with information and resources to help them achieve a successful education.

I.D.E.A.S. is a platform for underrepresented students to voice out their opinion on issues that affect them. Its members are predominantly underprivileged students, but not limited to them.

They supported the AB 540 bill, passed in 2001, allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition fees. Undocumented students are eligible if they have attended a California high school for at least three years, graduated from one, are registered or enrolled in a institution of higher education, or have filed an agreement with the institution stating they will legalize their immigration status.

The club also supported the Dream Act bill, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last October. The bill allowed undocumented students to get state-funded financial aid and Cal-Grant assistance.

Last year, I.D.E.A.S. was able to give out two $500 scholarships to undocumented students through fundraisers. It helped the two students pursue their educational goals.

I.D.E.A.S. hosts workshops during their meeting in an attempt to reach out and unite other undocumented students and others that support their cause.

“I decided to run for co-chair because I wanted to empower and encourage the other members and show them not to wait for others to make a change,” Sanchez said.