Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown approves loan program for undocumented students

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation creating a new loan program for undocumented students in California’s public universities.

Senate Bill 1210, by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would make available $9.2 million for University of California and California State University campuses to administer loans to students who are in the country illegally. These students, who are ineligible for federal financial aid and most private loans, often face a gap in funding their education – an estimated $5,000 to $6,000 at UC and $3,000 at CSU, according to Lara’s office.

“This bill will grow our college-educated workforce and make good on the promise that a college degree is possible for all hard-working California students, regardless of immigration status,” Lara said in a prepared statement.

California has already taken several steps to make college more affordable for undocumented students, including extending in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who graduate from California high schools and making them eligible to apply for Cal Grant scholarships.

When it was introduced in April, UC President Janet Napolitano praised SB 1210 for seeking to put undocumented students on equal footing with their peers.

“They have done everything right,” she said at the time. “It’s about opportunity and it’s about fairness.”

Brown signed the bill on Sunday without comment.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 3:52 p.m. to include a comment from Lara.