Following the news of the DACA programs’ wavering future in this country, Interim Chancellor of the California Community Colleges (CCC), Daisy Gonzalez shared her support for the program as she announced the Undocumented Student Action Week that will start on Oct. 17 to Oct. 21.
Gonzalez said CCC’s can now offer up to 30 new bachelor degree programs a year, during the Student Media Teleconference on Thursday.
The federal appeals court decision deemed the DACA program illegal, while allowing current recipients to renew their status.
“We wanted to send a clear message that California Community Colleges, UC’s and CSU’s, mission has not changed,Gonzalez said. “Every single student is welcome, and we will serve every single student that comes to our door.”
For current DACA recipients, the Interim Chancellor advises them to renew their status as soon as possible and expresses the work that will continue to help support the DACA students.
“If you already have DACA status, we are urging to please seek an extension as soon as possible. There have been students, faculty and staff who have been advocating for a permanent pathway for citizenship for undocumented students, and we know that advocacy work will continue,” Gonzalez said.
This year will mark six years of California Community Colleges celebrating Undocumented Student Action Week.
“This is being celebrated at all 116 campuses. We worked alongside the students’ Senate for California Community Colleges, and this year’s theme is bilingual. It’s called Juntos Podemos. Which means ‘together we can,’” Gonzalez said.
The Undocumented Student Action Week is meant to not only bring awareness and support to recipients of the DACA program, but to show students and staff that the CCCs will continue to welcome them.
“With protests and calls for permanent solutions. I think that pressure will keep mounting. For us, as a system, we will use that moment to direct that energy, direct folks to their federal representatives. But more importantly, to showcase that this system continues to be open to serving all students, and that you are safe in the system,” Gonzalez said.
Following the Undocumented Student Action Week announcement, Gonzalez also announced the Board of Governors decision to give colleges the opportunity add up to 30 bachelor degree programs yearly.
“In the last legislative session, there was a bill that passed that allowed the Board of Governors to open up as many programs as were needed as long as we do not exceed 30 new bachelor’s degree programs at our colleges every year,” Gonzalez said.
The Board of Governors have already approved new bachelor degree programs.
“Now our students at El Camino and anyone nearby can get a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Respiratory Care. They also approved the automotive technology management baccalaureate degree at De Anza College. They also approved the research laboratory technology at Bakersfield College,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez also encourages students to stay up to date with www.Icangotocollege.com. It offers information on financial aid and how to complete FAFSA. Information can also be found about the California Dream Act application.
“The California Dream Act application is now available. There were some changes that were made at the federal level, but that application is now available. Our students should be encouraged to apply to financial aid quickly as possible, to determine their award amount,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez mentioned that after the pandemic students have an interest in online education and would like to continue their studies remotely. A goal of hers is to meet student interest and make that option a reality.
“The CCC’s then offer in person instruction for those that prefer to do that. We also know that there is a whole new stream that a portion of our students prefer, and that is HyFlex. Meaning you can come in person, or you can be online. A personal goal of mine is that between now and January of 2023, our board can open up a conversation,” Gonzalez said.