UW Dreamer: "I Feel More Accepted"

By Liz Jones

Today , Washington state students who are in the country illegally have reason to celebrate. Governor Jay Inslee plans to sign into law the state’s Real Hope Act. Under the measure, undocumented students will become eligible for state-funded college financial aid. Only a handful of other states have passed similar laws.

On the University of Washington campus, Liz Jones met up with student who was at the bill signing, and filed this audio postcard.

Betancourt: "I’m Diana Betancourt and I’m a freshman at the University of Washington. It’s not a traditional Mexican last name but…(laughs) yeah." She says "I think just any financial assistance is a huge, huge, huge contribution. I’m definitely in the red zone for next quarter so I’ll have to figure out how to pay for that. Just knowing that I’ll have some financial assistance puts some weight off my shoulders and just makes it a little easier to focus more on schooling and not just how I’m going to be able to pay for it."

Betancourt says it’s been really, really, tough. She says she saw her sisters not able to go to college. "So, I was like, ‘If they can’t go then I probably won’t be able to go,’ then I met other people who went to the University of Washington. I was like, 'You know what, I can do it.' And I put all my heart and soul into school."

Betancourt says just seeing like the Dream Act, "I feel like every single time something passes, I feel more at home and I feel more accepted". One way or another, she says, she has to get five jobs, but "feeling accepted in this country where I’ve lived practically all my life, I think that’s the thing - even though it doesn’t seem like it - that’s what every undocumented student looks for and hopes for."

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