September 12, 2019
It is the beginning of a new school year for CSUB, and it is crucial for Dreamers to have financial aid figured out before the CSUB deadline closes on the 13th of September. Although the CSUB Financial Aid Office aims to help all students regardless of their citizenship status, Dreamers often times need help figuring out where to fill out residency forms, understanding of DACA, and other resources available to them.
According to Claudia Catota, J.D., M.A., Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President, the previous CSUB President, Horace Mitchell, created a task force to make CSUB more inclusive for the AB540 Dreamer students. Before his retirement, Dr. Mitchell left Claudia Catota in charge of the AB540 and Dreamer task force, along with the initiative to create a dreamer resource center at CSUB. Unfortunately, the Dream Center will not have its grand opening for another couple of weeks. Although the Dream Center has been completed, the final candidate for director has not been selected. According to Catota, “Final candidates for the Dream Center position came to CSUB two weeks ago [and] once a candidate is chosen for the director position, the center will be open.”
Once the Dream Center is ready for their grand opening, an announcement will be made inviting all the Dreamers to come and learn about the different types of resources available to them. Some resources available to Dreamers are: help with visas, deportation, financial aid, and the DACA application. Although the Dream Center will not be open for another couple of weeks, students can stop by anytime at the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office for advice or counsel from financial aid counselor Stephanie Perez.
According to Perez, “All students regardless of status, [economically or residency], can come for questions or help.” Perez is responsible for awarding the middle class scholarships, the Dream Act application, and processing grants to the university. If Dreamers have any questions or concerns regarding their financial aid award, Dream Act processing, application, or dream loan, Perez is available to help answer any questions regarding the financial aid process for all students, including our Dreamer students at CSUB.
Another resource available at the Dream Center is the TRIO program. According to the Head Director of TRIO, Jesse Quintanilla, “My job is more about helping the community, including the Dreamers. We help students with filling out paperwork, workshops, and the Dreamer application. I also work with the club L.UP.E, [Latinos Unidos Por Educación], at BC in the transitioning to CSUB. I am a big advocate for Dreamers and I always try to help, even though I am not part of the Dreamer Center I have been helping Dreamers for over nineteen years.” Quintanilla is also in charge of directing the talent search program, administering and caring out the responsibility of helping low-income families, helping students who lack academic support, and helping incoming freshmen and transfer students make the transition to CSUB. The TRIO program also includes four advisors who help students from low-income families, foster youth, first-generation students, and Dreamers.
Regarding Dreamers, on Sep. 4, the CSU Chancellor’s Office announced a plan to provide immigration legal services to students and faculty members at all 23 CSU campuses. According to the California Faculty Association, “Funding to support these services was first authorized in the 2018-19 […] Assembly member Ash Kalra created protections for undocumented students, faculty, and staff in the CSU system, as well as the state’s community colleges and also addresses their access to financial aid, legal representation, and constitutional right to due process.” California Faculty Association President Charles Toombs stated, “It’s about time CSU took this important next step in ensuring undocumented students, faculty and staff are provided the services they need to ensure their safety.” Until the Dream Center opens, CSUB and other CSUs is offering resources to our Dreamers and AB21 students and faculty through a variety of sources. CSUB’s ultimate goal for the Dream Center is to have all the resources available in one place for our Dreamers.