Several days ago, the chancellor of California’s community college system, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, called for undocumented college students in California to hand in their financial aid applications after officials noticed an exceptionally low turnout this year.

According to a press release from the Chancellor’s office, officials are concerned about the low number of applications currently on-hand from undocumented students. By this time last year, 34,000 applications had been received for the Cal Grant and additional forms of state-funded financial aid like the Board of Governors Fee Waver. This year, there have only been 20,000 applications so far.

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley noted that the current climate in the country, with the Trump administration’s apparent interest in deportation and illegal immigration, likely plays a role in a student’s hesitation to turn in an application. Some go as far as saying a “hurricane” is approaching.

Despite this climate of supposed fear, Oakley assured international students that they should not be afraid to apply because none of their personal information would be shared with federal authorities. In fact, the California Dream Act forbids the sharing of this information, and it permits colleges to award state-funded financial aid and scholarships to students who hold a U-visa or are in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

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A qualifying international student must have earned a California high school diploma (or a GED) and attended a California elementary and/or high school for at least three years. Students are also expected to sign an affidavit showing their intent to become "legalized" with the college of their choice.

Image Copyright Don McCullough.