Emails were sent to DACA students by the Financial Aid Office at CSUDH of their eligibility of relief as well as the amount they will be recieving. Photo by Iracema Navarro.
By Matt Barrero, Assistant Sports Editor
As COVID-19 surges, the California State University and University of California students continue to face financial strains, causing concerns for many students including the undocumented student population of CSUDH but the California Disaster Relief Emergency Grant has recently provided students in the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program exactly what’s in the title: relief.
Back in March, the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress in an effort to protect the financial welfare. Additionally, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), a provision of the CARES Act, provided money to universities to assist with COVID-19-related expenses and gave direct aid to students most in need, but DACA students were left out.
Undocumented students that fall under DACA, a program established in 2012 to shield children that entered the country illegaly from deportation, has dealt with many moments of uncertainty throughout 2020. In September of 2017, the Trump Administration announced its plan to end the program when it comes to their education.
CSU’s and UC’s announced back in May that they would give emergency grants to DACA students, after the Education Secretary Betsy DeVos excluded them from the $6 billion set aside to assist college students statewide.
CSUDH received approximately $18.4 million of emergency stimulus funds through HEERF, of which half, or $9.2 million, went to students. To be eligible for the support funds, students had to be enrolled full-time (12+ units) as an undergraduate, have earned at least 24 semester units or 36 quarter units, and be low-income, with a maximum Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,576 (equivalent to eligibility for Pell Grant) or eligible for a California College Promise Grant Fee Waiver (formerly known as the BOG fee waiver).
But things took a turn and began to look better for some of the, approximately, 500 DACA students at CSUDH as the Financial Aid Office has recently informed some of them, via email, of the emergency funds and how much each student would be receiving.
The email sent out to some DACA students read:
Dear (insert student name here),
Senate Bill 116 has made funds available to eligible AB540 students for the Fall 2020 semester. You have been awarded $xxx.xx in CA disaster Relief Emergency Grant. Please login to the Student Center to view your revised award. If you are enrolled in direct deposit, you should receive the funds within a few days. If not, a paper check will be mailed to the mailing address listed on the student portal.
If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office at (310) 243-3691.
Financial Aid Office
The Bulletin had reached out to the Financial Aid office for more information and comments on the fund but unfortunately did not hear anything prior to publication.
The basic needs of students, including those who are undocumented, is something that CSUDH has taken seriously semester after semester.
One DACA recipient who did not want her name used for this article, said the support from the Basic Needs and other academic services have helped her feel a sense of community and support.
“The Toro Dreamer’s Success has really helped me feel that I’m not alone,” she said.
DACA students still face an uncertain future, but for the moment, through assistance from local and federal sources, some of their basic needs are covered.