The first $5 million in loans is ready for distribution to undocumented students who qualify for the California DREAM Loan Program, the University of California announced today.
Though the program passed the state legislature in 2014, the funds, which come from California's public four-year universities and the state's general funds, were not available until this academic year.
All nine UC undergraduate campuses are actively seeking undocumented undergraduates who may be eligible.
California high school graduates who are undocumented and meet California DREAM Act requirements have always been eligible for state and university aid but were disqualified from federal aid and limited from getting private loans.
"This new program will reduce that gap," UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement. "It will help even the playing field for undocumented students struggling to make ends meet."
The University of California estimates that more than 3,000 students will have access to the loan program.
The DREAM Loan program's interest rate for the 2015-2016 academic year is 4.29 percent. The rate is tied to the federal student loan subsidized interest rate. Interest does not accrue if the student is enrolled at least half time. Loan repayment begins six months after the student graduates.
Qualified students are undocumented undergraduates who have financial need and are enrolled at least half time at a California public four-year university.