Undocumented students face unique challenges that require innovative and equitable policy responses. The Coalition engages in state-level advocacy to identify opportunities where California can further expand supports for undocumented students on college campuses, with a focus on ensuring reliable access to legal services, learning opportunities, and financial aid.

The Coalition continues to call for a permanent legislative solution to ensure that undocumented students are provided long-term security and an opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship, which could make them eligible for federal student aid.

Coalition Policy Priorities

Address the Financial Needs of Undocumented Students

Because undocumented students are ineligible for any form of federal financial aid, they face unique challenges in covering college expenses. California has established eligibility for resident tuition/fee rates and some forms of financial aid for many undocumented students, but still leaves students with a major gap to cover themselves.

Ensure College & University Campuses Serve All Students

While California has established statewide programs so undocumented students can safely apply for financial aid, such as the Dream Act application, there is a lack of coordination and consistency in how these and other resources are made available. The Coalition has worked with partners to identify needs, gaps in services available, and connect campuses with interested funders who can help bridge the gaps. California should pass legislation to ensure that there is someone at each public college or university campus that is responsible for coordinating support services for undocumented students and provided with the right information to serve these students effectively.

Provide Meaningful Opportunities to Learn Outside the Classroom

Many undocumented students encounter difficulty in finding opportunities that build their professional skills and resumes due to their legal status. Unlike students born in this country, undocumented students are not offered any employment through the federal Work-Study program. California should establish a means of pairing financial assistance awards with meaningful volunteer service on campus or in the community that allow undocumented students to develop their talents, while also earning funds to help cover the cost of higher education.


Read our 2019 Policy and Budget Priorities

2018 Policy and Budget Accomplishments

AB 1895: Income Based Repayment for DREAM Loans

Author: Assemblymember Calderon
Status: Chaptered
Campaign Position: Support

Helps address the financial needs of undocumented students by allowing DREAM Loan recipients to repay their loans based on actual income and providing students the security of loan deferment if they are unable to secure work in the United States.

SR 84: Relative to California Dream Act of 2011

Author: Senator de León
Status: Chaptered
Campaign Position: Support

Encourages California residents eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid under the California Dream Act of 2011 to fill out the California Dream Act Application and continue the process of applying for college, to realize their full potential and continue to make significant contributions to our state and nation.

$21 Million for Undocumented Student Services

A total of $21 million was approved in the budget to support access to legal services for undocumented and immigrant students at the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges.

Additional 2018 Supported Policy

AB 1037: Service-Incentive Grants for Undocumented Students

Author: Assemblymember Limon
Status: Held in Senate Appropriations
Campaign Position: Support

Provides undocumented students with an opportunity to both develop their resume and skillsets, while also helping offset their ineligibility for any federal financial aid by establishing the Cal Grant B Service Incentive Grant, which would offer $1,000 per quarter or $1,500 per semester to participants that complete 300 eligible volunteer or community service hours while meeting academic requirements.

SB 573: Create Service-Study Opportunities for Undocumented Students

Author: Assemblymember Lara
Status: Held on Assembly Floor
Campaign Position: Support

Creates a mechanism for California’s community colleges and public universities to develop programs in which undocumented or AB 540 students could enter campus or volunteer service agreements in order to receive grants, reimbursements, or tuition/fee waivers.

Return to main coalition page