Joana Dos Santos came to the US from Uruguay in 2001 when she was 14. Her family was part of a large wave of migrants who moved north to the US when the economy back home collapsed. At the time, the US had a visa waiver agreement with Uruguay so it wasn’t hard to enter the country.
She came just in time to start high school in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where she was lucky to land in a college access program designed to track kids and prepare them for the future. It also meant a rude awakening about her status as an undocumented immigrant.
“My first month I got called in by the guidance counselor,” Dos Santos told me. “They were preparing kids for college at a young age. They asked me, ‘So how are you going to pay for school?’”
That’s when Dos Santos learned how expensive college is in …