SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There’s been a significant decline in financial aid applications at California colleges from undocumented students.
“I was uncertain, confused about whether I should apply or not,” said Sacramento City College student Brenda Navarette.
Brenda is an undocumented immigrant, who grew up in Davis, and is now a sophomore at Sac City College with some real fears when it comes to applying for financial aid through the California Dream Act.
“I’m just afraid of where my information is gonna end up. I don’t know if it’s gonna be reported or if all of a sudden immigration officers are gonna show up,” she said.
State officials believe the decline in CA Dream Act applications is in direct response to the President’s new immigration policies.
“It’s just a scary thought for me and my family as well,” said Brenda.
Sac City College Dean Art Pimentel wants to ease the fear and anxiety for those applying.
“That information will not be shared with any federal agency, and so students need to feel safe and secure that the info won’t be shared, and they should feel comfortable applying for financial aid, to continue their educational goals,” said Pimentel.
By last year’s deadline, the California Student Aid Commission had received 34,159 applications. and now, only 25,915 students have applied so far. That’s a 25 percent drop.
“Definitely students are scared, They’re confused about (Daca).”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy started by the Obama administration in June 2012 that allows certain undocumented immigrants eligibility for a work permit.
DACA is a federal program, information is forwarded to the Federal Government. But with the Dream Act application stays in the state, and is purely for eligibility purposes.
Officials hope the clarification will offer some reassurance for students like Brenda so they don’t miss this window of opportunity.
“Makes me feel better, knowing that I can apply and my information won’t be shared,” said Brenda.
The deadline for California Dream Act is Thursday, March 2nd. To apply, visit: http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp