UCLA to Shut Down Controversial Dream University

UCLA has been taking some heat for attempting to create a program known as the National Dream University, which would allow undocumented illegal immigrants to take online classes.

Assistant Editor, Wintergreen Orchard House

Originally Posted: Sep 20, 2012
Last Updated: Sep 20, 2012

The University of California — Los Angeles (UCLA) is well known throughout the United States for being a highly selective public university as well as a flagship campus of the University of California system. Over the past few months, the university has been taking some heat for attempting to create a program known as the National Dream University, which would allow undocumented illegal immigrants to take online classes for college credit at a discounted rate. The program, which came to terms through a partnership between the UCLA Center for Labor Research and the National Labor College, has been the topic of negative media attention since it came to light that this type of program was being created using California tax dollars.

As of September 13, 2012 it was announced that UCLA has shut down the controversial program due partially to a lack of approval from UCLA administrators. It is speculated that the program was also put to a stop due to public pressure and California lawmakers that were openly against implementing a program such as this. The news came as somewhat of a surprise, as the National Dream University was actively recruiting applicants early this summer to apply for the October 5 deadline.

Through the National Dream University, eligible students would have been able to enroll in six online courses. Approximately 30-35 students were set to be accepted into the program upon its commencement. Completion of the program would award a certificate, but would allow students to transfer credits to an associate or bachelor’s degree. The courses would be taught on topics such as labor history, and nonviolence and social movements. Part of the admission requirements included demonstrating a commitment to immigrant/labor rights and social justice.

Much of the debate is based on the premise that the total cost for students in the National Dream University to obtain 18 credits would be approximately $2,500, while the cost for legal residents of California to obtain 18 credits is approximately $6,600. In addition, students admitted to the program would be eligible for federal financial aid.

The purpose of the program was to give undocumented students the opportunity to obtain college credit for a lower cost, while easily maintaining a job due to the online class format. Although, with the annual rising cost of tuition in the University of California system accompanied with limited resources available to students due to budget cuts, many see this program as an unfair allocation of funds.

University of California system President Mark Yudof has stated that although this program has been suspended, future partnerships between UCLA and the National Labor College to establish a similar program are not out of the question. Advocates for the program are still trying to petition that the program be re-opened for the initial January 2013 start date.

What do you think about a well-known public university attempting to create this program?  Would you like to see the University push harder to make this idea a reality or do you think California tax dollars shouldn’t support a program such as this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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illegal immigrant education illegal immigrants illegal immigration education immigration National Dream University ucla

About Kristen Healy

Kristen Healy

Kristen is an Assistant Editor at Wintergreen Orchard House, a sub-division of Carnegie Communications, where she manages data for Midwestern colleges and universities. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Journalism and Communication and a minor in Political Science. She is psyched about blogging about Public Colleges and Universities seeing as she is a proud product of one. She hopes that her four years at the Massachusetts state flagship campus will help her to bring new light to a broad range of topics that can relate to attending a public college or university. Her college career was spent writing for the news section of UMass’s Daily Collegian, volunteering at the university television studio, and enjoying the sites and activities of downtown Amherst. Kristen loves to travel and spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, where she gained perspective of what it is like to attend a large university in another country. She hopes her experiences in public higher education will help guide readers through their own college journeys!

You can circle Kristen on Google+, follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to her CollegeXpress blog.


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