On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled stating that the U.S. Department of Education could not place eligibility restrictions on California community college students in order to receive emergency financial aid amidst the coronavirus pandemic situation.
These restrictions prevented undocumented students and also the students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, or DACA program, from meeting the aid in the CARES Act, that is, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security.
Earlier, for arbitrarily placing restrictions on the emergency relief funds, the federal education department was sued from Congress. Congress was looking forward to helping students with their educational costs during the pandemic. Owing to the same, a department spokesman said that it fully expects to prevail on appeal.
However, the preliminary injunction will only help California community college students. Then what about the other students nationwide and across the state in the University of California and private college systems who have been affected by the eligibility requirements?
This is a major question as there are 4,000 estimated undocumented students who have been enrolled in the 10-campus UC system. Moreover, nearly 9,5000 students have enrolled at CSU’s 23 campuses and about 70,000 in the community colleges.
Out of these, nearly half are estimated to have DACA status and nationally the number of undocumented students to be enrolled in college is more than 450,000. Following this, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos argued that the stimulus law tried tying the basic requirements for federal financial aid to itself.
He further added that the funding for federal student aid does not always include undocumented students. Most international students and students making academic progress also get included. Moreover, Eloy Ortiz Oakley who is the chancellor of the 115 community college system applauded the judges’ ruling.
Oakley further added that Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos and her department made attempts to exclude as many as 800,000 California community college students from having emergency assistance that Congress accepted to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Thus, judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’s ruling is definitely good news for those students who were denied assistance which Congress has intended for them during this public health and financial crisis.