$5 million in funding for undocumented UC students set to expire in June

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Five million dollars in funding for undocumented UC students is set to expire in June, with many urging UC President Janet Napolitano to renew the initiative.

The fund, first announced in October 2013 by Napolitano, allocates $5 million in nonstate, nontuition money for providing undocumented students throughout the UC system more comprehensive access to university resources.

Of the $5 million, UC Berkeley received $660,000, of which $250,000 went toward services for undocumented students such as resource centers and advisory programs. The remainder of the funding was allotted to financial aid, then split between work study positions and a loan program.

According to UC Office of the President spokesperson Kate Moser, UC campuses are currently working to improve services for undocumented students. Each campus reported its use of the funding to UCOP and provided an assessment of the impact that funded programs had on undocumented students — information that will help guide the university’s future funding decisions, Moser said.

Moser added that Napolitano is considering a number of funding proposals and that the 2016-17 university budget will be informed by Gov. Jerry Brown’s final budget.

“Supporting undocumented students has been a top priority for President Napolitano from her first days in office,” Moser said in an email.

The impending expiration of the funding has sparked frustration among several undocumented students. Campus organizations in support of undocumented students’ rights organized a protest Saturday during Cal Day to raise awareness of the situation.

According to incoming ASUC senator and undocumented student Benyamin Mohd Yusof, there are several resources for undocumented students on campus that will suffer if funding is cut, including students’ access to a special Tang Center counselor and an immigration attorney.

Yusof said not renewing funding will also impact the Dream Lending Library, a system through which undocumented students can rent textbooks. When a student requests a textbook for a class, it is obtained for the student by the lending library and is added to the library’s permanent collection. Without funding, however, the library would still be available to students, though its collection would cease to grow, Yusof said.

Campus junior and undocumented student Angelica Vargas said the lending library has been largely responsible for her ability to access textbooks, adding that she was unsure of how she would be able to obtain such resources without university funding.

According to Meng So, director of the campus Undocumented Student Program, a funding loss would be devastating for all UC campuses. Moreover, he said, cutting funding would detract from the progress made for undocumented students’ rights within the UC system.

“I think as a UC system we’ve become known for being a system that’s designed to shape the public good,” So said. “I think undocumented students represent the beacon of opportunity that the UC stands for.”

Harini Shyamsundar is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hshyamsundar.