When Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas, he supported merit-based scholarships for immigrant students, regardless of whether or not they could prove legal residency. For some Republican voters, this has worked against Huckabee, but some others don’t think its a very big deal and support Huckabee regardless. This seems to be one of the big issues in the exchange between Huckabee and Fred Thompson, and its starting to show visible differences between federalist conservatives and compassionate conservatives.

Some of Fred Thompson’s supporters sites go even further, questioning the entire Huckabee record on education. Fred Thompson doesn’t have a record of running a state education program, so criticisms from his campaign should be taken with a grain of salt.

This scandal shows something that international students should know about American scholarships: Not every program requires proof of legal residency. I’m not advocating any illegal activities, but I know that sometimes renewing Green Cards and Visas can take a long time and if papers get lost at the government offices, a student can be without legal status for a brief period of time. Some scholarship programs will allow this, too. Of course, the best way to get the most financial aid is to register legally and keep all paperwork up to date. But, if the worst-case scenario comes around, there might be some programs that can help.

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