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Fewer Undocumented Students Applying For Financial Aid Out Of Fear

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Uncertainty over President Trump's immigration enforcement has led fewer undocumented students to reach out for financial assistance.

Applications for Dream Act financial aid at the state's community college system are down more than 40 percent from last year, officials said.

The drop stems from fears the information will be handed to the feds.

"It's really important that they submit the application today regardless of the fears they have," said SFSU Dream advisor Catherine Custodio,

SFSU opened a new office this year -- the Dream Resource Center -- to help undocumented students.

"Students are starting to find difficulties navigating different processes," said one of the centers advisors.

A lot of it is fear rooted in concerns over the future of DACA, or Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals.

The policy was initiated with an executive order by President Obama, aimed at protecting immigrants whose families illegally brought them to the U.S. as kids.

DACA information is forwarded to the federal government.

The students put in both their information and sometimes their parents information, explained Custodio.

When applying for college under the California Dream Act, a student's application stays in state.

But there has been mistrust after President Trump vowed to repeal DACA on the campaign trail.

He has recently indicated he might be softening.

In the meantime, SF State has set up a website and Twitter account for so-called "UndocuGators" to provide information that will ease undocumented students' fears and encourage them to apply.

"This will only be used to state financial aid, so we've been really trying to promote that idea," said Custodio.

As for Thursday's deadline, renewal of Cal grants under the California Dream Act can be made after March 2, but first-time applications are due by midnight Wednesday.


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