California’s four-year universities reach out to immigrant students with low-interest DREAM loans

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The L.A. Times:

Officials at California’s four-year public universities are reaching out to an estimated 10,000 undergraduate students who might qualify for a special loan aimed at reducing their tuition — a program that further distinguishes the state as a national trendsetter in providing services to immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The California DREAM low-interest loans are designated for such immigrants who are enrolled at University of California or California State University campuses. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the program into law in 2014, but funding didn’t become available until last month.

It’s the latest in a series of measures that Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature have approved to help integrate these immigrants into mainstream society.

They have already enacted laws that allowed these people to obtain California driver’s licenses, removed the word “alien” from the state labor code and made it easier for immigrants who are not here legally to get medical care for their children.

Critics say these measures encourage more illegal immigration, hurt taxpayers and reward individuals who have violated U.S. laws.

The California DREAM loan program’s initial allotment totals $7 million — $5 million for the nine UC campuses with undergraduate students and $2 million for the 23 Cal State schools. The state provided half of the funding and the two university systems covered the rest.

Each student can borrow up to $4,000 for this academic year at an interest rate of 4.29%. Once they graduate, borrowers have a six-month grace period before they must begin repaying their loans.

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