Senator Lara Announces the California Dream Loan Program

April 09, 2014

SACRAMENTO — Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach) today announced SB 1210, the California Dream Loan Program, which would establish at the University of California and California State University a loan program for undocumented students who have financial need but lack access to federal or private student loans.

“We invest in California students from an early age and many of them have done what we’ve asked them to do: work hard, study and pursue a higher education,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “If we’re serious about strengthening our economy then we must remove obstacles for our future workforce when they’re close to the graduation finish line.  Continuing to invest in our future and ensuring that all students have access to the funding resources they need to succeed should be a top priority.”

California has demonstrated a willingness to invest in undocumented students by enabling them to graduate from California high schools, pay in-state tuition in the state’s public higher education institutions, qualify for Cal Grants, and institutional aid.

However, undocumented students who are exempt from paying Nonresident Supplemental Tuition under AB 540 and who are eligible for State and institutional financial aid under AB 130 and AB 131 still lack access to student loans – either from the federal government or from private lenders.  As a result, these students have an estimated “gap” in their financial aid packages of roughly $5,000 to $6,000 at the University of California and $3,000 for the California State University that other students with similar financial circumstances do not have. There are an estimated 1,300 undocumented students attending the UC and 6,400 at the CSU.

"These students have worked hard to achieve their dream of a university education, and I believe we should work as hard to ensure that they have every chance to succeed, including providing them access to equivalent resources as their campus peers,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano.

SB 1210 would establish the California Dream Loan Program at the UC and CSU and allow undocumented students the opportunity to apply for student loans. The initial funding would be set at $9.2 million with $2.3 million coming from the institutions and $6.9 million  from state funds.

“The California State University stands with Senator Lara and the University of California in supporting improved access to financial aid for the state’s growing population of AB 540 students,” said Timothy P. White, Chancellor, California State University. “These students are not currently eligible for federal financial aid.  The proposed campus-based Dream Loan Program addresses this critical funding gap and will enable these students to attend college, graduate and contribute to California’s economy.”

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Senator Ricardo Lara was elected in 2012 to represent the 33rd Senate District, which includes the cities and communities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate, South Los Angeles, Vernon, and Walnut Park. For more information please visit this link: http://www.senate.ca.gov/lara.