The number of undocumented students applying for state-funded financial aid for college is currently lagging well behind last year’s applications.
A report by the nonprofit EdSource, highlighted growing concern among some officials that the fears of California’s Dreamers that information provided on the application forms could be used to deport them and/or members of their families might be deterring potential applicants from applying. It is believed so many families are living in fear of President Trump’s immigration actions they are unwilling to take the risk.
Foregoing these grants will be a significant loss for these students as the state-funded California Dream Act grants pay a good portion of the costs associated with attending a community college, a California State University, a University of California or an independent college.
California leaders, as well as University of California President Janet Napolitano, have done their best to reassure students and their families that personal data will be protected as much as possible from federal immigration authorities.
Dream Act Grants are administered by the California Student Aid Commission. According to the Commission, during the two-month application period last year, it received a total of 33,032 applications. This year the application period was held open for five months. With only a few more days remaining until the enrollment period is scheduled to close on March 2, the Commission acknowledged it had received less than 19,000 applications for California Dream Act grants as of February 14.
On its website, https://dream.csac.ca.gov/, the California Student Aid Commission declares, “The California Student Aid Commission has strict security and confidentiality policies and procedures in place to protect the integrity and confidentiality of student records.” It further states, “The California Student Aid Commission has not now, or in the past, shared any information which would indicate a student's immigration status, either documented or undocumented.”