Halfway into a new quarter and a new year at UCLA, the future for many undocumented students is uncertain. The established funding for undocumented students at the University of California was guaranteed by President Napolitano as a three-year-commitment. In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s attacks on DACA, President Napolitano promised to allocate $8.4 million per year to support undocumented students at the 10 UC campuses through the 2018-2019 school year. However, the UC Office of the President has made no announcements on future funding for undocumented UC students. With an estimated 600 to 700 undocumented students at UCLA alone, this sudden uncertainty in financial support puts thousands of academic futures potentially on hold.
In a country where college education is treated more like a capitalistic corporation than a necessity, UC funding for undocumented students is critical. Funding provides undocumented students with the legal protections and financial support needed to pursue their education. Undocumented students face particularly steep financial hurdles, with the average undocumented family making less than $30,000 per year – this makes basic necessities like housing, food, and healthcare difficult to obtain without the mountainous costs of college education.
Napolitano’s current funding for the UC undocumented students includes $2.5 million per year to student services, staff support, fellowships, and support. The fund currently gives $900,000 per year to UC’s Undocumented Legal Services Center, which is crucial to protecting undocumented student’s rights to stay in the US and pursue their education. The UC DREAM Loan Program also utilizes $5 million per year to provide undocumented students who are not eligible for federal aid with student loans. To take away this funding for undocumented students would be punishing students for seeking an education in the country they’ve spent the significant years of their lives in.
The Undocumented Students Program (USP) is a UCLA organization that is enhanced by Napolitano’s three-year funding, and provides academic and financial resources for undocumented students. USP also provides free legal resources through the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, including workshops and presentations on current immigration laws and students’ rights. The USP also hosts a variety of events geared towards aiding undocumented students on finances, housing, career planning, and post-graduate education. This organization is a source of confidence and support that is essential to the success of undocu-Bruins.
On Jan. 25, USAC General Representative 3 hosted a phone banking event where students could call the UC Office of the President and ask to renew funding for the Undocumented Students Program. However, despite numerous calls from UCLA students, the UC Office of the President has said nothing about future funding for undocumented students.
The UC Office of the President’s silence on future funding for undocumented students demonstrates a blatant lack of concern for the hundreds of students whose educations are on the line. While the UC Office of the President openly criticizes President Trump’s for his attacks on DACA and pledges support for undocumented students, their lack of continued concrete action makes these pledges of support seem more for show. Undocumented Bruins need greater support from their university, and UCLA students must use our voices to advocate for their rights now more than ever.
Students can call the Office of the President at (510) 987-9113, using the attached script below, to urge renewed funding for the USP!