Just before Thanksgiving Break, Boston College awarded a financial aid package to Minaldy Cadet, MCAS ’20, a student who had hoped to receive aid after he learned that he was ineligible to receive any financial aid for the fall semester because of his citizenship status. His story had attracted attention earlier this fall from The Miami Herald and United States Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
The Appeals Committee in BC’s financial aid office offered Cadet a special appeal grant.
According to the BC financial aid website, students who believe they have special circumstances that have led them to need to adjust their financial aid packages can appeal to the Appeals Committee. After the Committee looks over the appeal form, it will notify the student of whether he or she was offered financial assistance within 10 business days.
Cadet said he was told that he was offered financial aid because he found out about his legal situation right before the fall semester began. Bernie Pekala, the director of student financial strategies in the Office of Enrollment Management, said in an email Wednesday night that federal student privacy laws prohibit his discussing student matters, but he said his office has worked closely with Cadet’s family and will continue to do so.
Cadet’s parents emigrated from Haiti when he was a young child. When his parents applied for citizenship, they paid a man to help them with their paperwork. The man was a fraud and took all of their money, forcing them to start the process over again on their own. Since 2004, Cadet’s parents have been working through the process of applying for citizenship. Expecting to receive a green card by the end of the summer of 2016, Cadet accepted his offer from BC, which stated that he would receive financial aid once he obtained a green card.
In August, the immigration office denied his request for a green card, saying he and his family had overstayed their visa between the time that they first arrived in the United States in 1999 and when they started to apply for the green card in 2004.
As a result, Cadet’s father took out a loan to pay for his first semester at BC. Cadet and his family have been working to find a way to receive financial aid since then. They appealed to BC to help them just before the fall semester began, but they were denied.
Cadet’s story gained some attention. The Miami Herald interviewed and wrote an article on him after his father took out the loan. Rubio reached out, Cadet said, telling him not to worry about money. Rubio’s office confirmed to The Heights that he has been working with Cadet and his family to discuss possible solutions. Cadet also has a GoFundMe page, which has raised just over $7,000 so far. All of this media attention has made lawyers want to represent him and people want to support him.
Although his current financial aid package only covers the spring semester, Cadet believes he and his lawyers and advisers will be able to find a way to extend the financial aid.
“Obviously our main objective is to stay here for four years and graduate here,” he said.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor