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It takes a village

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In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Dream Act, which made California the first state in our nation to allow undocumented students to apply for and receive state-administered college financial aid. This was groundbreaking legislation. Sadly, the applications to the California Dream Act are down more than 60 percent this year compared with last year. As of Feb. 24, there are only 17,819 applications compared with 46,731 last year, according to Patti Colston, communications manager for the California Student Aid Commission.

State leaders believe that many immigrant students may not be applying due to President Donald Trump’s fear-mongering statements about possible deportations. This also comes at a time when California needs more college graduates. A recent study released indicates if current trends continue, California will fall short of 1.1 million college graduates by 2030.

During these unsettling times it is important to remember Hillary Clinton’s speech at the 1996 Democratic Convention, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Mrs. Clinton said in her speech, “Change is certain but progress is not” and “progress depends on the choices we make today for tomorrow.”

Our nation has changed significantly over the last 21 years, and like Mrs. Clinton, I believe in the common good and I believe we are all responsible for ensuring that all children are raised in a nation that doesn’t just talk about family values, but acts in ways that value families.

Undocumented immigrant children, like all children, are part of our nation. Please encourage all high school seniors and all college students to apply for financial aid by March 2 (students will still be able to apply past that date, they just won’t get priority); California needs more college graduates. For more information, contact the State Aid Commission at (916) 464-8271, or the California Department of Education at (916) 323-6398.

-- Andrea Devitt - SLO

-- Andrea Devitt - SLO

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