Undocumented students face financial uncertainty

Undocumented students may not have to fear deportation or expulsion from Chico State, but if DACA or the California DREAM Act are repealed, they will have to worry about their financial stability.

The information provided on FAFSA for Chico State will remain private and unchanged by new laws, so many DACA and DREAM students will still be able to attend Chico State on financial aid.

However, if DACA is repealed, students may no longer be able to use their social security numbers, which would make them ineligible for many jobs.

DACA students would also no longer qualify for the Affordable Care Act, and may have difficulty renting apartments, applying for loans and opening bank accounts. Even with state financial aid for tuition, these students will have difficulty making ends meet, Elizabeth Alaniz, assistant director of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office said.

Both acts were created to aid undocumented minors so they could pursue higher education. DACA protects undocumented youths from deportation but does not offer a direct pathway to citizenship and also has nothing to do with financial aid eligibility. The DREAM Act also does not offer a direct pathway to citizenship.

Many DACA students are hesitant about re-enrolling in DACA now because the information they provide could lead to their deportation.

Alaniz tells students “to continue along the path they are on because we don’t know what’s going to happen.” Students who have already enrolled in DACA should re-enroll when able, Alaniz said.

If DACA and the DREAM act are repealed, Educators for Fair Consideration, a non-profit organization that supports young undocumented immigrants, advises “people to go to reputable attorneys and nonprofit organizations…to see if they qualify for any immigration options that offer work permits and more stable immigration status in the U.S.”

“There are several things the Chico community can do to help these students manage their finances,” Alaniz said. “The community can come together to create a non-profit to provide a variety of services like financial aid, food, clothes, and other necessities.”

Allison Clark can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.