In California, undocumented students can get state aid for tuition. They cannot get federal grants or loans.
The Haas Fund has now stepped in to make up the difference. At the University of California at Berkeley about 100 students will get annual grants of $4,000 to $6,000 until the funds run out.
The idea to create the grant came out during a dinner last year where undocumented students talked about how hard it is to earn money legally for living expenses and books.
About 200 undocumented students go to Berkeley and about 5,000 others go to other California colleges. The state is one of the few that lets undocumented residents pay in-state tuition.
Low income and undocumented high school students are also going to a high school program that gives them advice on how to fill out college applications and apply for grants. The best of these students go on to weekend-long College Summit boot camp where they learn college skills and how to mentor younger students.
An advisor said, “They are all bright and beautiful. The system told them they do not deserve it, and the system is wrong.”
Nearly 80 percent of the students who take the College Summit program go on to a post-secondary school. About 63 percent of the L.A. school district graduates go further.