UC system pledges $25 million for illegal immigrant scholarships

University of California system president Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday that she will earmark $25.2 million to fund loan programs for undocumented students across the system’s 10 campuses over the next three years.

“We are committed to continuing a path forward for undocumented students at the University of California,” Napolitano said in a press release. “This funding will further strengthen the university’s undocumented student initiative, and help ensure that these students receive the support and resources they need to succeed.”

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The $8.4 million annual allocation will fund three separate programs for illegal immigrant students in the UC system, including a “DREAM Loan Program” that will receive $5 million per year for three years.

“The program makes student loans available to undocumented students, who are not eligible for federal aid,” the press release notes, explaining that “students will repay their loans back into the DREAM Loan fund.”

Additionally, $2.5 million per year will go towards undergraduate and graduate fellowships for “undocumented” students, as well as other financial support such as funds for textbooks.

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UC’s “Undocumented Legal Services Center” will also receive a $900,000 budget increase, likely to help fund legal battles for students seeking citizenship. The legal services department in the UC system provides “undocumented” students with legal aid “free of charge,” meaning taxpayer dollars are funding illegal immigrants’ legal bills.

Notably, President Napolitano formerly served as the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, where she was tasked with protecting America’s borders. She shifted focus shortly after beginning her tenure as UC system president, though, immediately allocating a one-time fund of $5 million to undocumented student programs when she began at UC in 2013. Now, she is increasing that figure five-fold, pledging $25.2 million over a three-year period to illegal immigrant students.

[RELATED: Napolitano promises $5 million to help illegal immigrants attend college]

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“From the earliest days of her presidency, Janet Napolitano has acted to ensure that our undocumented students are on equal footing with others seeking to fulfill their aspirations at UC campuses,” UC Board of Regents chairman Monica Lozano remarked. “These efforts have made the University of California a leader among universities across the nation in ensuring academic opportunity for undocumented college students.”

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