American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) President Dr. Mildred García on Friday expressed deep disappointment that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) college students are excluded from the coronavirus emergency student financial aid grants.
“DACA students, as well as Dreamers, enrolled in our colleges and universities are vital members of the academic community and contribute to the critical work of teaching, learning and research that occurs on campuses across the country,” said García in a statement.
Department guidelines released Tuesday said only U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have filed, or are eligible to file, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are eligible for the grants that are intended for expenses such as childcare, food and housing. But, Garcia said, the federal coronavirus stimulus package, under the CARES Act, doesn’t specifically exclude undocumented students.
“The language in the CARES Act does not exclude DACA students in the eligibility for financial aid grants,” said Garcia. “It is our moral obligation to not only enroll students at our campuses, but to also support them through graduation and into fulfilling professional careers as they contribute to our communities and economy. DACA students and Dreamers are active, engaged and successful learners across the country. We must and can do better to support them and all members of our campus community.”