Five undocumented immigrants joined the freshman class this year, according to La Casa Latina, the cultural resource center for Latino students.

While most students arrive on campus ready to share their stories with roommates and friends, these five students took extra precaution to ensure that they kept part of their background secret—their immigration status.

Undocumented immigrants are individuals who are not US citizens or legal residents but live in the United States. The Urban Institute, an independent analysis center, estimates that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from US high schools every year. Although there is no federal or state law that prohibits universities from admitting undocumented immigrants, many assume that they cannot legally attend college because they are not eligible for federal financial aid.

In recent years, there have been a number of undocumented immigrant students at Penn, according to La Casa Latina Associate Director America Espinal. The five who arrived this year were initially brought to La Casa’s attention through the Admissions Office, which gives the center a list of undocumented immigrant students to reach out to at the beginning of each year, according to Espinal.

Dean of Admissions Eric Furda declined to comment, and Student Financial Services spokeswoman Marlene Bruno maintained that her office was unaware of undocumented students at Penn.

When working with a student who is not a citizen or permanent resident, Penn’s Student Financial Services will not include federal aid as part of the need-based financial aid package, according to Penn’s Office of the General Counsel.

According to La Casa Director JohnFive undocumented immigrants joined the freshman class this yeany Irizarry, private institutions such as Penn have the capacity to support undocumented students. “The Ivies have the resources to do that,” he said. “They have the private donations that can allow them to be more welcoming.”

The full article is available at the Daily Pennsylvanian.