Meet Gustavo Ospina. Born in Colombia, Ospina moved with his family to the United States as a small child, settling in Elizabeth, NJ, nearly two decades ago. Ospina rose to the top of his high school class, balancing a long list of extracurricular activities with stellar grades, though his dream of a university education still seemed out of reach. Undocumented immigrants aren't eligible to supplement college tuition with federal aid, and they can't take out private loans, either. After graduating, Ospina worked at a warehouse to fund his community college fees, yet still dreamed of testing his talent at a four-year college. Undeterred, he was recently accepted to prestigious Columbia University, his top choice school, but all that ivy doesn't come without a price tag. Columbia's $60,000-a-year tuition would be a challenge for most American families, and it's an impossible obstacle for those, like Ospina, who have no access to government or private loan options.
Watch the video above to learn more about Ospina's fight to finance the education he's been dreaming of for so many years. Ospina's story showcases the same tenacity shown by innumerable undocumented young people striving for the American Dream.
About Behind the Headlines
Refinery29’s original series “Behind the Headlines” takes an in-depth, human look at the policy debates dominating the global news media, from American immigration reform to the continuing struggles of Syrian refugees and Afghanistan’s lingering gender inequality crisis. Bypassing the pundits, we’re dedicated to spotlighting the stories of the people whose lives have been profoundly impacted by these issues, and believe that their voices must be heard.