New Scholarship Assists Undocumented Students

Tamara Baskin

Generous donations from 18 faculty members allowed Glendale College to provide its first Dream Scholarships to some of the nearly 300 undocumented students [AB-540 students] on campus.

The scholarship was announced by Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) Counselor and Dream Scholarship committee member Greg Perkins on April 12. It will provide a form of financial assistance for undocumented students. AB-540 students are among a group of students who are allowed to pay in-state fees, but they are not eligible to receive any type of financial aid.
The committee, which according to Perkins, consists of 14 counselors, classified staff, managers, and instructional faculty members. Along with the members, the committee also includes two AB-540 student representatives who are Voces Del Ma§ana club-members.

Voces Del Ma§ana is an oncampus club that works in creating awareness for undocumented students across campus.

“The majority of these are conscientious and hard working, yet financially struggling, students,” said Perkins.

Although these students are not eligible to receive any type of government assistance, they are eligible to receive the various scholarships provided. The Dream Scholarship allows these students to have a way to ease the stress of paying for college.

According to Perkins, there is no specific number of people who could receive the scholarships. The selection committee consists of five members and is responsible for deciding which students deserve the funds. Since AB-540 students are among a group of students who are not eligible to work or receive any type of financial aid, the committee does not only base the criteria on GPA, but considers their community work, both on and off campus. Once a student applies and their situation fits the criteria, then the scholarship could vary anywhere from $75 to $200.

The Dream Scholarship criteria requires the student to be undocumented, hold a 2.50 cumulative GPA, not be on academic probation, be enrolled in six or more units, and have a minimum of 2.5 average in the most recent semesters. Along with this, a letter of reference must be submitted in order for the students to have their community involvement documented.

“The minimum amount the scholarships awarded through the Glendale Community Service Scholarship application for Spring 2007 was $75 if the student had a marginal GPA but had significant service experience and extenuating circumstances,” said Perkins. “The highest award was $200 for students having both good to excellent GPA and strong service record”

With more donations, the committee has goals to one day provide scholarships which would be the value of a Board of Governors (BOG) fee waiver. The BOG fee waiver, which according to the Financial Aid office waives enrollment fees for the entire academic year, depending on their income.

Liliana Arrazcaeta, AB-540 student and treasurer for Voces Del Ma§ana, feels that the Dream Scholarship provides a good financial base for AB-540 students.

“This cause that we are supporting helps open opportunities for the AB-540 students on campus,” said Arrazcaeta. “Little by little with the help of these scholarships, we’re making financial aid available to AB-540 students.”

The Dream Scholarship is an extension of the DREAM Act. Voces Del Ma§ana along with the committee are working with promoting the DREAM Act, which could potentially allow undocumented students to apply for citizenship, after the satisfactory completion of high school.

Those that support the DREAM Act, which was introduced on May 1 by the House of Representatives, would most benefit undocumented students by allowing them citizenship so that they could apply for financial aid, as well as legally working. Although this act has been proposed it has not yet been passed.

If interested in donating money to the Scholarship Committee or learning more about the American DREAM Act, contact Greg Perkins at [email protected] or call (818) 240-1000, ext. 5571.