Applications for the California DREAM Act have plummeted by 64 percent in the 2017-2018 school year.
Concern about immigration reform by the Trump administration could partially be to blame for the decrease of 21,842 applications from the 2016-2017 academic year. So far, California has received 12,299 applications for the 2017-2018 school year. In 2016-2017, it received 34,141.
Applications close on March 2.
The California DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Minors) is a California law that allows some children who immigrated to the U.S. to receive state financial aid. To qualify, a student must have been brought to the U.S. when they were less than 16 years of age and lacked proper immigration paperwork. As long as a student attended high school on a regular basis, is AB540 eligible and meets in-state tuition and GPA requirements, he or she may be eligible for state financial aid.
The California Department of Education responded to the decrease by releasing this statement, which reinforces the fact the department does not reveal a student’s immigration status: “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. The California Student Aid Commission also adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.”
No matter what happens at the federal level, the state of California has ensured students that their state financial aid will remain legal. Losing federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status will not affect most financial aid. The California DREAM Act is separate from the federal government.
If you are eligible for the California DREAM Act and have concerns, contact the California Student Aid Commission at 916-464-8271 or the California Department of Education, College Preparation and Postsecondary Programs Office, Career and College Transition Division at 916-323-6398.