APTOS, Calif. (KION) The Cabrillo College governing board voted unanimously to support a resolution urging the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos to allow colleges and universities to distribute Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act emergency funding to all students, regardless of immigration status.
CARES act funding currently excludes DACA and other undocumented immigrant students.
“Nearly 50% of our most needy students are not eligible for CARES act funding because of the department of education guidelines. That’s not fair. That’s not American in my mind,” Cabrillo College President Matt Wetstein said.
Cabrillo College has received $2 Million in CARES Act funding for emergency grants to students. A gaping hole in the money being distributed is to undocumented students, like Ana Lopez Catalan.
“Given that most students aren’t going to receive a stimulus check they are out of that luck, and then to be told you’re not going to receive any sort of funding through the CARES Act...this is hurting community,” Lopez Catalan said.
There are at least 500 undocumented Cabrillo College students who are missing out on part of the $2 million for students at their school, but part time students are also losing out too.
“The dollars disproportionately went to colleges that had full time students. A lot of us who work in the community college sector know we’re much more likely to have part time students, because they’re also working part time to make it through college,” Wetstein said.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office teamed up with five large community college districts to file a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco seeking to reverse the U.S. Department of Education's decision, Monday.
In the meantime, students like Lopez Catalan, who are barely scrapping by financially, are left out.
“You love your country so much, but whatever you do you feel it's not good enough,” Lopez Catalan said.
The Cabrillo College Foundation, which is supported by donors, and some equity funds from the state are being used to help support students in need.