On Wednesday, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced a new infusion of $8.4 million to help undocumented students in the University of California system through 2019.
"Support for undocumented UC students has been a priority for Janet Napolitano since she became president of the University of California in the fall of 2013," Steve Montiel, Napolitano's press secretary told NBC News. "The $5 million she allocated for student services and financial support in 2013 was scheduled to end in June of this year, and now she's providing another $7.5 million to UC campuses for the next three years. She's also committing $5 million a year for at least three years to UC's DREAM loan fund and $2.7 million over a three-year period to the Undocumented Legal Services Center at UC Davis, which will enable the center to expand the services it provides to students and then families."
The loan program is meant to provide undocumented students the same opportunities as others. The loans match the interest rate on the federal direct student loans, which change annually. Currently, the rate is fixed at 4.29 percent.
"These loans are very important to undocumented students," UC media officer Claire Doan told NBC News. "Their status disqualifies them from receiving financial aid, which severely limits their access to student loans. And they have difficulty accessing private loans."
Roughly 3,000 students throughout the UC system are eligible, according to Doan.
Beyond the loan program, the proposal also extends funding to support services, including undergraduate and graduate fellowships and counselors, and includes nearly $3 million in funding to the Undocumented Legal Services Center.