"A last-minute push of publicity and counseling helped increase the number of undocumented students in California who applied for special state-financed college aid slightly above last year's level despite fears of deportation, officials announced Monday," EdSource reports.
"As happened in 2017, applications for the California Dream Act funds that can cover tuition at public and private colleges in the state were lagging days before the March 2 deadline. But with much outreach, a final surge by the end of last week brought the total to 37,612 applications, which is an increase of about 4 percent, or 1,480 more applications than last year.
'I'm tremendously relieved,' said Lande Ajose, chairwoman of the California Student Aid Commission, which administers the grants. While she told EdSource she would have preferred to see a larger increase in application numbers, she said she was pleased that 'we didn't lose ground given the toxic federal climate' on immigration issues. The commission wants to ensure that 'deserving undocumented students in California continue to have access to opportunities.'
The California Dream Act grants are not directly linked to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides work permits and temporary protection from deportation to some young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. But the Trump administration's attempts to rescind DACA, now on hold because of court rulings, certainly contributed to scaring some students from applying for the California grants, officials said.
Families reportedly fear that information on the financial aid forms might be used for deportation actions — even though California leaders insist they will not share the data with federal authorities."
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Publication Date: 3/7/2018