For parents who have worked 18 years saving money to send a child to college, the news that their tuition checks will see an increase, albeit a small one, to pay for an illegal immigrant’s education may come as an unwelcome surprise.

Students at Prescott College in Phoenix were said to have “responded enthusiastically” to the creation of the Freedom Education Fund, in part by the $30 fee paid by each student attending class on campus, with the majority signing a petition to establish the fund, but the reaction of their parents is not yet known.

The small private university 100 miles north of Phoenix is the second university in the nation, after Loyola, to assess a fee against legal residents to pay for illegal ones.

The fee, which is expected to raise between $12,000 and $15,000 to partially fund a full-ride scholarship for an illegal, will be automatically assessed, although students – or their parents – may formally request to opt out of participation.

The fund was the senior project of Miriel Manning, an undergraduate student who worked with the university’s Social Justice and Human Rights division to develop the plan and submit it to the student body for consideration.

Supporters of the fee note that while illegal immigrants may attend state and private colleges in Arizona, in most cases they cannot work legally work and are barred from receiving government grants or loans.

“I am proud that our students take on the role of scholar activists,” said school president, John Flicker, but Andrew Kloster, at the Heritage Foundation said forcing legal residents at the school to pay for illegal immigrants’ education is a “slap in the face to a generation already facing its post-college years saddled with enormous debt.”

Collective student loan debt is currently estimated at over $1 trillion, consigning today’s students to a lifetime of working to make payments at the cost of homeownership, standard of living and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The first scholarship will be awarded during the upcoming academic year.

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