Fewer un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants seek aid for col­lege in Cal­i­for­nia

Manteca Bulletin - - Local/ State -

LOS AN­GE­LES ( AP) — A sig­nif­i­cant de­crease has oc­curred in ap­pli­ca­tions for col­lege fi­nan­cial aid by Cal­i­for­nia stu­dents who are in the coun­try il­le­gally af­ter be­ing brought to the U.S. as young chil­dren, the Los An­ge­les Times re­ported Tues­day.

Col­lege coun­selors say the de­cline re­flects in­creas­ing dis­trust of gov­ern­ment among im­mi­grant fam­i­lies, as well as un­cer­tainty over the sta­tus of the fed­eral De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram — bet­ter known as DACA, the news­pa­per said.

“The head­lines about im­mi­gra­tion make peo­ple feel like they’re re­ally in the spot­light. Kids are more afraid for their fam­i­lies than they are for them­selves,” said Jane Slater, a teacher at Se­quoia High School in Red­wood City who ad­vises a club for stu­dents who are in the coun­try with­out le­gal per­mis­sion.

With the March 1 dead­line ap­proach­ing, 19,141 stu­dents had ap­plied for aid un­der the Cal­i­for­nia Dream Act as of Mon­day, a num­ber that’s just over half of last year’s to­tal.

Avail­able aid for qual­i­fy­ing stu­dents in­cludes pri­vate schol­ar­ships funded through pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties, state ad­min­is­tered fi­nan­cial aid, uni­ver­sity grants, com­mu­nity col­lege fee waivers and Cal Grants.

This year’s de­cline fol­lows a dip that oc­curred last year un­til state of­fi­cials launched a cam­paign and ended up with a to­tal of 36,127 ap­pli­ca­tions. Ad­vo­cacy this year in­cludes a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment by rap­per DJ Khaled.

Yo­hana Ramirez, an 18-year-old Se­quoia High stu­dent, was 3 when her fam­ily moved to the U.S. from Mex­ico. She wants to go to the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Merced, and be­come a sur­geon.

“Grow­ing up, I knew I wasn’t born here, but I didn’t know what it means,” she told the Times. “I al­ways as­sumed it was just a dif­fer­ent point of ori­gin — but I didn’t think it would im­pact me in school.”

Learn­ing that DACA was in jeop­ardy scared her, she said.

“I was pan­ick­ing — about my fam­ily get­ting de­ported, with or with­out me.. I’m still kind of scared,” she said. “I’m just try­ing to keep my head up and keep push­ing for­ward with my dreams, goals and as­pi­ra­tions.”

An ad­di­tional fac­tor in the ap­pli­ca­tions de­cline may be the work­load of Cal­i­for­nia’s stu­dent coun­selors. The Times cited a re­port this month by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Col­lege Ad­mis­sion Coun­sel­ing that found a ra­tio of 760 stu­dents for ev­ery coun­selor in the 2014-15 school year.

Slater, the Se­quoia High teacher, said she makes sure all el­i­gi­ble se­niors ap­ply.

David Marks, a coun­selor at Sacra­mento Char­ter High School, said coun­selors don’t have a lot of time but sim­ply in­form­ing stu­dents about the aid may not be suf­fi­cient.

“It takes a lot of ef­fort to dou­ble-check,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.