By Alicia Cook
Gloria Rodriguez’s journey to Bloomfield College was spread far and wide by the Teacher Project, an education reporting fellowship at Columbia Journalism School, in partnership with Chalkbeat and WNYC. Rodriguez shared her story as an undocumented student with NPR.
Rodriguez was the 2016 valedictorian of West Caldwell Tech High School and is currently enrolled in the Honors Program at Bloomfield College. She attended Essex Community College and applied last spring as a transfer student at a number of four-year institutions.
She was accepted to several, but did not think she could attend due to finances. According to the article, her father migrated from Puebla, Mexico 18 years ago and supports his wife and five children on roughly $30,000 a year.
According to NPR, “when Governor Murphy signed a law in May giving undocumented immigrant students access to state financial aid for college, Rodriguez was prepared. The 22-year-old Orange resident had been working toward this moment for nearly a decade -- about the same time it had taken the law’s supporters to get the bill passed.”
Under this new New Jersey law, students can use its financial aid at both its public and private universities within the state. She successfully enrolled at Bloomfield College and aspires to be a special education teacher.
“It's something that I know that I have the patience for,” she said in the interview. “And I would do anything to help someone who needs my help.”