File photo / Joshua Pacheco
Today is the last day for California Dream Act students with Assembly Bill 540 status to apply for CSUN’s COVID-19 emergency grant. The grant is intended to help undocumented students who were excluded from federal emergency relief.
CSUN’s Dream Center, which assists undocumented students, announced the new grant earlier this month. The university secured funding for the grant from the CSU chancellor’s office. Since the grant is supported by institutional funds, the university must use specific eligibility criteria, according to Linda Brignoni, CSUN’s director of financial aid and scholarships.
To qualify for the grant, a student must be a California Dream Act applicant with AB 540 status and meet the satisfactory academic progress requirement. Eligible students must also have enrolled in at least one unit in the spring 2020 semester, according to Brignoni.
The Dream Center estimated that there were about 1,700 undocumented students enrolled in CSUN this spring. Out of the 1,700 students, only 992 were eligible for the grant, according to Brignoni. The Financial Aid and Scholarship department contacted the eligible students and invited them to apply for the grant.
The university created the grant after the federal government prohibited undocumented students from receiving any funds from CSUN’s $22.3 million federal coronavirus relief funding. The COVID-19 emergency grant award amounts will range from $308 to $968, mirroring the federal grant award amounts, according to Brignoni.
Students who were not eligible to receive federal relief funds were initially encouraged to apply to the university’s MataCare emergency grant — a grant that was created before the pandemic and funded by alumni, faculty, staff and students. The university extended the MataCare application deadline — which has since passed — and lifted some eligibility restrictions to accommodate more students in light of the pandemic. Eligible students who received a Matacare grant can still apply for the COVID-19 emergency grant, according to Brignoni.