SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) and Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) have introduced legislation to help eligible undocumented students at California public universities graduate with less loan debt and more job opportunities. AB 206 establishes the California DREAM Work-Study program to provide need-based work-study grants to undocumented students who would be eligible for the program under standards set for other UC and CSU students. The measure provides 100% of funds for work-study grants for students employed by a UC, CSU or public school district, and 50% of funds for job placements with other private and non-profit employers.
“An important part of a university education is networking and gaining skills that will help students start their careers after graduation. Work-study programs can provide these opportunities,” said Stone. “At the same time, these programs can help students reduce their loan burdens. AB 206 helps ensure that DREAM Act students can benefit from the same access to work-study programs as other eligible students.”
Work-study job placements can be on the campus the student attends, or off-campus with a private or non-profit employer. When students participate in such programs, they receive grants that help offset the cost of tuition. Another key benefit of the work-study program lies in the employer contributions to the work-study grants, which extends the reach and effectiveness of limited government funded financial aid dollars. With a focus on development of workplace skills, the benefits of work-study go far beyond the immediate need for financial aid for the student.
“This measure helps DREAM Act students succeed in college and build their careers,” said Medina. “As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I understand how work-study helps students graduate without crushing debt and become more employable after graduation.”
California has made great progress in ensuring equal access to higher education opportunities for undocumented students. Since 2001, long-term California residents who are undocumented have been qualified for in-state tuition at UC, CSU and community colleges; since 2011, these students have been eligible for financial aid at these institutions. Unfortunately, undocumented students are denied access the Federal Work-Study program; AB 206 helps address this inequity.
AB 206 is co-authored by Assemblymembers Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), and Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara).