UC Berkeley opens California DREAM Act scholarship

The UC Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office released the scholarship application for students who would receive private financial aid under the first part of the California DREAM Act starting January 2012.

The $8,000 Berkeley Undergraduate Dream Act Scholarship — which was formed after Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 130 in July — will be awarded to students attending the University of California with financial need and a 3.0 grade point average who qualify for in-state tuition under AB 540.

There are 440 AB 540 students on campus, according to the campus Office of the Registrar, but Rachelle Feldman, acting assistant vice chancellor and director of financial aid and scholarships, said she only expects between 100 and 200 applications.

The scholarship will heavily depend upon general gift and endowment funds made to the campus by private donors. The funds, which currently amount to about $2 million, will be returned to the general scholarship population after the California DREAM Act scholarships are awarded, according to Feldman.

Although an additional endowment fund to support undocumented students was created by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in August, it has not reported any earnings to the financial aid office, according to Feldman.

“We’re not quite sure what’s happening with that fund yet, but we’re very hopeful,” Feldman said.

Ju Hong, an undocumented UC Berkeley senior and a CalSERVE senator, said the scholarship would open many doors to higher education for undocumented students.

“The AB 130 scholarship is a big torch for AB 540 students because these students have to often take a year or two off for financial difficulties obviously because they can’t get financial aid and scholarships,” Hong said. “It will take a load off their shoulders for tuition fees.”

The scholarship will help with the recruitment and retention of students at UC Berkeley, said Gladys Castro, co-chair of the student group Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education.

But some students said the 3.0 grade point average requirement might have a hindering effect on scholarship applicants.

“AB 540 students usually work two jobs and take care of family and have to deal with psychological distress, and getting 3.0 for AB 540 students is not easy,” Hong said. “But the financial office mentioned that even if you don’t have a 3.0 GPA, you are still encouraged to apply. So everyone has a chance to apply and receive $8,000 based on financial need.”

For freshmen who entered this fall, however, the scholarship board will consider their incoming high school GPA instead, since this semester’s grades will not be available until next year.

Students who apply by the priority deadline of Nov. 30 would be awarded the scholarship by the end of this calendar year, according to Feldman.

About 800 students in the UC system will qualify for awards under both parts of the California DREAM Act, according to Steve Montiel, spokesperson for the UC Office of the President.

“We’re certainly hoping that (the scholarship) will make their lives a lot easier,” Feldman said. “For a group that has already had to overcome a lot of obstacles, we think that will make a significant difference in their ability to juggle their education and supporting themselves, because we want all students to be focused on their education.”

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  • Sean

    Someone needs to cut funds off from UC Berkeley. Who the heck is working there and running these things? I paid full tuition at a UC, got no financial aid, and worked while in college. And these people get free money for being illegal! Sighhh unfortunately the San Andreas runs vertically so Berkeley will not be floating away =/

  • While I’m generally in favor of supporting grants and scholarships for undocumented students, I’m concerned that once they graduate they still will have virtually no chance of obtaining a job in our current system. It would be perverse if California taxpayers pay for high quality education for students that either have no chance of getting a good job in the country or we subsidize their education where they return back to their countries of origin to make a living.

  • Anonymous

    Several pieces of misinformation in this article:

    Private Scholarships have always been available for Illegal Alien Students.  AB 130 just now uses public money and public servants to administer them.

    For the first year alone about AB 131:


    “It is not known how many undocumented students would be eligible for the
    aid. A Senate committee analysis estimated the bill’s cost at about $40
    million. That includes $13 million for Cal Grants, which average about $4,500;
    up to $15 million in community college waivers; and $12 million in
    institutional aid from the University of California and California State
    University systems.”


    “On behalf of the California Student Aid Commission, I am requesting a
    correction to a quote attributed to me, Lori Nezhura, Legislative Director for
    the California Student Aid Commission, in the “Trying to Keep the Dream Alive”
    article posted on July 14, 2011 on EGPNews.com.

    It is imperative that your readers be informed that the number of High
    School Entitlement Cal Grants and Transfer Entitlement Cal Grants are unlimited
    and available to all students meeting financial need, GPA, and other
    eligibility criteria. Therefore, if passed, Dream Act students will be able to
    receive these awards if they meet the same requirements.

    Conversely, the number of Competitive Cal Grants is limited. However, the
    bill stipulates that Dream Act students may only receive one of these awards
    provided funds remain after all eligible non-AB 540 California residents are

    Most of AB 131 assigns free State aid based on Need. CA Community College
    does not require a minimum GPA (fee-tuition waivers and EOPS), while the rest
    only requires a 2.0-2.6 GPA. So, this is not the “Best and the Brightest” of
    Illegal Alien Students. This is clearly Economic Discrimination against US
    Citizens, Legal Californian Residents, and Legal Immigrants who have seen their
    tuition rates rise dramatically while not being eligible or have seen their
    financial aid reduced. It is this discriminated population who ARE our FUTURE.  Their only option is to take on crippling
    Loan Debt.

    Also, with the heavy recruitment of out-of-state and Foreign Nationals who
    can pay nearly twice the in-state tuition rate to refund our defunct education
    system, Legal Californian Residents and Legal Immigrants will be “priced out”
    and “placed out” of THEIR American Dream, THEIR higher education.

    And here’s how AB 131 does not help anyone:

    There are already 10,000 volunteers to start getting signatures with
    petitions. If there was $1Million to be spent, the petitions would be ready in
    one month. Donnelly is trying to get this done through social media and radio



    Here’s more info at:


    Or you can order petitions by e-mail. Send your name,
    address, and the number of petitions requested to:
    [email protected] or to [email protected].


    And here’s what will happen
    when AB 131 Illegal Alien Students get a free CA higher education at the
    expense of (mostly) Middle Class Legal CA Residents and Legal Immigrants and
    cannot be legally employed:  They go back
    to their “home country”, even though “USA is the only home I know.”:



    • [Private Scholarships have always been available for Illegal Alien
      Students.  AB 130 just now uses public money and public servants to
      administer them.]

      Which is sanctioning illegal behavior, and wrong.

      • je

        Every time we buy a grape, eat strawberries, etc. we are most likely sanctioning illegal behavior (and this is wrong?). The fact of the matter is that illegal immigrants permeate our society and we need them. Considering, though, that net migration to the united states from Mexico is now zero, (an important fact) it makes sense to let the highest achieving immigrants become productive members of our society rather than waste away at the bottom of the economic food chain. See http://bigthink.com/ideas/520 … Meanwhile immigration has come to a halt and there is no danger of the “big scarry brown other from the south stealing our state money” and all that none sense. In some states there is even a lack of workers http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/10/alabama_farmers_doubt_proposal.html

        Are you going to do the illegal immigrants work for her/him?
        America willingly, knowingly exploits these people because they can do it cheaply and without reprimand.

        And state budget problems? Simply the top 500 wealthiest in this state own money to fill our budget problems a thousand times over. Illegal immigrants, etc. have little to do with our budget problems. Capitalism is in a down-turn and the wealthiest, who do not deserve to have the money while people work just as hard as them and starve, won’t let anyone touch their cash horde. Redistribute the wealth — stop a system that is destroying our living standards, our environment, our food, our lives…

        • Local God

          Some very old inflammatory and incorrect rhetoric used here.

          1.  Playing the “race” card.  Most US Citizens are not against Legal Immigrants, are not racist, or xenophobic.  Confusing Illegal and Legal immigrants is a tired tactic designed to divert from the facts and incite guilt and defensiveness.

          2. Illegal Aliens pay very little in the amount of taxes due to their under-the-counter, black market, cash, under-reported,  undeclared income.  One loophole being closed soon is the
          $1000 per child tax credit, if they do file “income” taxes using an ITIN.  The “taxes” paid does in no way offset the Billions in social services, education, safety, and healthcare received by them.


          3.  Illegal Aliens do take work away from US Citizens, especially from the Working Class:  Construction, Hospitality, Care Taking, Domestic, Manufacturing, Food Industry,Landscaping,  etc.  I have a number off riend who are  single parents who have been edged out of their way of making a living by Illegal Aliens undercutting prices and not complaining of working conditions, etc. because they know they are very fortunate to be here at all.

          4. Great way to divert from the argument about the “wealthy” causing the problems of state budgets.  Spoken like a true Illegal Alien taking from our society and not giving much back to support it.  I suppose that if you become a US Citizen, and become “wealthy”, that you want to hold onto as much of your money as possible and would resent the state giving your tax money to those who are not US Citizens, and cannot contribute back, due to their illegality, while sucking off the system for their lifetime.

          5.  The invasion has slowed to a crawl because US Citizens do not have the money to pay out in cash for Illegal Alien work.  Arizona has not been affected by the now rescinded “boycott” and Alabama will bounce back as well.  The States that will receive the “kicked out” Illegal Aliens will find their infrastructure crumbling and will have to face the facts that they cannot support them and will not receive a Federal Bailout to come to their aid.

          It’s a matter of numbers and common sense.  A solution will not be found when emotions and sentimental arguments are used.

        • [And state budget problems? Simply the top 500 wealthiest in this state own money to fill our budget problems a thousand times over.]

          Are you saying that they “owe” money or “own” money? The fact that they have such money does not give the State the right to confiscate it. You progressives are going to have to accept the fact that your mismanagement of the state budget does NOT give you the right to force others to pay for your malfeasance…

  • Kenneth

    Even some Republicans understand the moral argument that children brought to the US by their parents illegally should not be held accountable for their parent’s misdeed.

    On the national level President Obama is doing much better on illegal immigration than the last guy and much much better than that conservative icon Ronald Reagan who rolled out the welcome home mat for illegals.

    • Kenneth, thanks for reminding us that you live in a world far removed from reality. Have your even left the Berkeley city limits once in your adult life?

    • Local God

      Is this why Obama is held to have deported more Illegal Aliens than any other President before him?

  • sarah

    F this shit. Seriously. So they get the chance for free money and then complain that the 3.0 is still too high? Well, let me tell you the a lot of the DOCUMENTED students also have to work 2 jobs and many of them are poor as shit too . UGH 

    • Anonymous

      This is what Lefties do best, pit groups against each other. Next time you vote Sarah, vote scumbag Libs out.

  • Funny how many of the same people who support scholarships for people who aren’t even in the country legally still can’t figure out why the state of California is broke. It’s quite clear with the push for “diversity” and “inclusion” that a sizable proportion of the student body @ Cal no longer consists of  “the best and brightest”…

    • Tony is a maggot troll!


    • Fail22212221

      Funny how FAIL of the same TROLL who FAIL scholarships FAIL people
      who TROLL even in the country FAIL still can’t FAIL out why the
      state of TROLL is broke. It’s quite clear with the push for
      “FAIL” and “FAILER” that a sizable proportion of the FAILEST @ Cal no longer consists of  “TROLL”… 

      • tony stop trolling

        stop trolling

      • Funny how my little stalker buddy flails and foams. He can’t actually refute any of the points I make, but has to respond anyway. But thanks for reminding us that liberalism can’t be defended by logic or reason, only emotions.