Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education, or RISE, at Berkeley, began an online fundraiser April 20 to raise money for its RISE Relief Fund, which will be used to support undocumented students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
RISE is a student-run campus organization dedicated to supporting undocumented students. Through the fundraiser, the organization hopes to raise $125,000 and distribute $250 to at least 500 students.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the vast inequities already experienced by undocumented individuals,” said RISE finance chair Sandra Flores and spokesperson Luis Dominguez in an email. “With many local, state, and federal relief and resources excluding our undocumented community, we believe it is crucial as RISE to help support out undocumented at UC Berkeley.”
The group raised $2,000 through its Venmo account @riseatberkeley as of Friday evening, according to Flores and Dominguez. All funds are currently collected through Venmo, but it is also looking for other reliable platforms for collecting money.
The organization plans to open an application for campus undocumented students in May. In order to ensure that students receive the money in a more timely manner, RISE will send the money through Venmo to aid recipients.
The financial assistance provided by RISE is intended for use on expenses including rent and food.
Since many government relief programs, including unemployment benefits and disability insurance, require that aid recipients have a Social Security number or citizenship status, many undocumented students who have been impacted by the coronavirus do not qualify, according to Flores and Dominguez.
Flores and Dominguez added that the U.S. Department of Education established an emergency student aid fund, but all undocumented students are ineligible to receive aid from the fund as well.
“This comes to show that many undocumented students are in need of financial assistance and support,” Flores and Dominguez said in the email.