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UC Davis Opening Center To Help Undocumented Students Navigate Education Laws

DAVIS (CBS13) — There are hundreds of undocumented students within the University of California system, and now a new center at UC Davis will help them navigate the laws that help those students get an education.

UC Davis Junior Ana Maciel is open about her undocumented immigration status, but knows that isn't the case with many of the 200 other undocumented UC Davis students.

"How do I get people to come out as undocumented, you know?" she said. "I mean, it's something that i take pride of, but a lot of other students don't."

She's part of the group that helped create the brand-new undocumented student center at UC Davis. It's a one-stop shop for students to get legal consultation, academic advising, and help navigating California's laws that give eligible students in-state tuition and financial aid.

The center's new director, Andrea Gaytan, says the funding comes from a $5 million systemwide initiative by UC President Janet Napolitano. UC Davis received $500,000 to serve its undocumented students.

"We see all nine campuses now have designated support staff to help and be the point people for undocumented students on each of the UC campuses," she said.

Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says while immigration reform is needed, some question the use of public money to help undocumented students go to college.

"Clearly they're taking up the space of those who are here legally and, quite frankly, the offspring of California citizens who have been paying taxes for a long period of time," he said.

The center will have a grand opening on Oct. 21.

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