Loyola University Chicago's medical school is now accepting applications from undocumented immigrants.
In response to President Barack Obama signing the DREAM Act last year, top officials at Loyola's Stritch School of Medicine said they decided to change the admission policy to fill a gap in the medical community as the country faces a shortage of doctors and a large number of underserved communities.
The school says it's the first medical school in the country to allow undocumented immigrants to apply to its medical school.
The DREAM Act allows qualified undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors to receive a two-year, renewable authorization to live and work in the United States.
“As a medical school built on Catholic and Jesuit values we have a tradition of reaching out and encouraging the growth and development of future doctors from all walks of life,” Dean Linda Brubaker said.
Brubaker said this group represents an "untapped source of qualified and diverse talent" that she says will enrich the medical school community and the medical profession.
Mark Kuczewski, director of the Loyola's Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics said the students will diversify the physician workforce.
"This will benefit not only the many patients who one day these physicians will serve, but also our entire student body," Kuczewski said. "This will help all our students better understand the variety of cultures and people they will be treating."
Students accepted into the program could start as early as summer 2014.