California 'Dreamers' set to get more state funding

The 2020-21 school year is good news for Dreamers in California. 

The University of California and California State University graduate students who fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will soon be eligible for special loans to help pay for school.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed a series of bills relating to higher education in the state, including adjustments to admissions processes and increasing access to government loans and grants.

“Higher education has the power to transform lives, and all hardworking young people in our state deserve a shot at it,” Newsom said. “This package of bills strikes at the forces that keep the doors of opportunity closed to too many people in our state.”

SB 354, which commences this 2020-21 academic year, will “expand DREAM loan eligibility to a student who is enrolled in a program of study leading to a professional or graduate degree, including, but not limited to, a teaching credential, if the student meets the other applicable qualifications.”

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“Undocumented students face greater obstacles to get the proper financial support that is needed to enroll in a graduate or professional degree program at a public university,” Maria Elena Durazo, author of the bill and California State Senator, said. “With the signing of SB 354, we will move our state closer towards ensuring that all Californians have the same opportunities for academic success.”

Those eligible for the loan must adhere to certain guidelines. While the minimum loan is $4,000, the maximum loan may not exceed $20,000. In addition, recipients must be enrolled at least half-time at a UC or CSU campus, have a valid California DREAM Act application on file and meet academic progress standards throughout their award year.

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The standard repayment for a DREAM loan is 10 years. The bill states “Repayment shall commence following a six-month grace period that begins when a student graduates or ceases to maintain at least half-time enrollment in a degree or certificate program.”

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