Former Student Not Funded

Former Student Not Funded

Former Cerritos College Student, Carlos Salas (26) was not qualified for financial aid while attending. Reason being because he was an undocumented immigrant here in the United States. But he still managed to find a way.

An aspiring lawyer actually found many ways. While being fully faithful to school he would go to super markets just to offer to clean windows for tips, sell cologne, and was also working at an insurance company by the name of Street Smart Insurance.

I guess you could say he had a lot on his plate to say the least.

After all his hard work and dedication at Cerritos College to make his dreams possible here in the land of opportunity.

He gets accepted to one of the biggest schools in Southern California, UCLA. Acknowledging the fact that it was a highly expensive school his hustle and pursuit continued. With the help of his tightly knit family and his friends in Downey, Ca he had all the support to make it possible. Him and his family made it a plan to have taco sales in his front yard.

It was a Saturday morning ritual for the Salas family and for a lot of friends and acquaintances in the beautiful city of Downey, CA.

After all the hard work and collected effort Carlos, his family, and friends put in. It resulted in the collection of the money he needed to pay his tuition at UCLA.

Carlos now graduated from UCLA as a Philosophy major with hopes of still being able to go to law school. He now owns his own insurance office in Buena Park called Street Smart Insurance.

The grind has not stopped for Carlos he continues to pursue what he knows he is capable of.

It keeps showing us although the odds aren’t always in our favor God is in our favor and anything is possible with God on our side.

School aid not an option for Dubon

According to the California Student Aid commission, the number of undocumented immigrant students in California applying for college financial aid has dropped more than 40 percent.

The California Dream Act allows undocumented students brought to the U.S. as children [known as “Dreamers”] are eligible for in-state tuition and forms of financial aid.

The state’s financial aid deadline is approaching there is fear that California’s Dreamers who are afraid to apply for FAFSA will be unable to launch their careers in college.

Nursing major and Dreamer, Martha Dubon has been attending the college for a year.

Throughout the year Dubon has been receiving financial aid but is afraid to reapply for fall semester.

“Since Trumps win I have been afraid, not just of applying to financial aid but of just being here on U.S. land. He has said horrible things about the undocumented and has commented on sending us back to our born state,” she said.

Dubon is aware that the financial aid deadline is approaching and has given a lot of thought and research in reapplying.

Students are required to reapply and submit all required forms for financial aid by April 30.

Dubon has also given the thought on just applying for the schools Board of Governors Fee Waiver to just waive her enrollment fees.

“This topic has been super heavy at home, especially because I am the only child. My mom has been constantly reminding me how I was brought here as a child and all the hard working women she has raised me to become.”

Dubon was brought to the U.S. at the age of four when her father passed away in Mexico. Her mom thought it would be ideal to move to the U.S. to offer her child a better future.

Although her mom knew it was not going to be easy and many challenges and fears were going to come their way she did it anyway.

Concha Dubon, Pricilla’s mom raises concern by stating “It is very hard to see my daughter worried at home. She tries to hide it from me but I see it in her eyes. When I brought her to the U.S. fear is the last thing I ever wanted Martha to face.”

Dubon’s mom does not agree on her just applying for the fee waiver and wants her to apply for financial aid to further her education.

“Martha wants to become a nurse because her father died due to an illness. I would hate to see her give up on everything she has worked for because she has fear in whom we now call our president would do,” Dubon’s mom added.

Actress Gina Rodriguez, is Dubon’s biggest inspirations in life besides her mom.

“I know I should not have any fear and applying to financial aid will help me pursue my career so I have to do it. As Gina would say, I can and I will,” said Dubon.

Financial aid educational plan paves a way for graduation

Start off at a community college they said, it’ll be fun they said.

The estimated time frame for a student to attend a community college like Cerritos is two years.

Once the two years have passed the student is expected to receive an AA degree and or transfer into a university.

For many students like business major, Karina Montano, that two year time frame is not the case.

“I have attended Cerritos since I graduated high school back in 2013. I took two summers off but I have always taken on a full time schedule,” she said.

Montano expressed that she believes she is still at Cerritos because of her changing her major.

In 2013 she enrolled as an undecided major, then took elective classes to see what she would prefer. After a few classes she decided to become a business major.

To receive a degree and transfer the requirement is 60 unit attempted, once a student has reached those financial aid stops giving aid and requires a student to do an educational plan.

“I noticed I had a hold on my financial aid and it said to do an ed plan, days later I received an email to go see a counselor and do just that,” said Montano.

A financial aid educational plan is required after the 60 units attempted for a AA and or transfer student. The purpose is for students to focus on their educational goal within the appropriate time frame.

If students don’t do their ed plan they may not receive any aid.

Student affairs assistant, Kuyairria Ferguson said “It actually puts a hold on your account [if you don’t do the ed plan] because [financial aid] needs to disburse you for the exact amount of classes.”

Ferguson mentions that she has been working as a student affairs assistant for two years and has seen how well financial aid is on top of things.

“I have done many calls for the ed plans and I have helped with many appointments. The ed plan is really helpful,” she said.

After Montano received her email and saw the hold on her financial aid account she went to meet with her counselor.

“It was actually a quicker appointment than I thought. We met discussed the classes I needed to take and estimated my graduation rate. This requirement is actually a very great tool to help us students who have been way over the two year time frame to graduate,” Montano said.

The Life of a Dreamer

Meet Gustavo Lopez, journalism major student from Cerritos College.

Lopez found out he was an undocumented student at the age of 16.

He comes from a single mother household and when he tried to apply for a job and asked his mother for his social security that’s when he became aware, “I knew I wasn’t born here, but I didn’t know I didn’t have papers”.

When he graduated high school in 2011, he put college on hold because there was no type of financial aid he could receive.

“I went through a mild depression at that time, I asked myself what I was going to do and thought about joining the military and the saddest part was when I called and they asked for a social security”.

Once Obama created Dream Act on 2012 he took advantage and started school in 2013.

“With the Dream Act I can actually get the classes pay for with the bog waver, all I have to do is pay the books and the student fee”.

Lopez has worked at jobs that demand high physical activity and careless about the well-being.

“Theres places that do hire you as an illegal but they take advantage of you, they pay you less and give you more hours, or you get hurt they’re just like ‘you’re illegal your liability is not covered under us’”.

Without a job, it is a struggle to pay for college materials, “if I could get away without paying, then I won’t pay a book for class”.

As only being able to get his classes payed for, it bothers him to see students that receive complete financial aid spend it on luxury items rather than for school.

“A lot of people don’t have that and it’s sad to see people waste it, I think it gives a bad image of financial aid, there’s a mentality that undocumented students want free money when we only want to get the same opportunities as others and have a good education”.

There was defiantly an increase of fear from Lopez with President Donald Trump administration.

This year he doubted applying for financial aid, “What if I graduate and Trump cuts the deferred action? I’ll have a degree but I won’t be able to work, it makes me think of what the point of me getting an education is if I might end up in a job where people look down on you and call you names”.

His mother is what makes him want to continue, “I try to think about my mom and push through, she has done so much for us, it wouldn’t be fair for her”.

His English professor from high school, Philip Keller, also encouraged him to continue doing better, “He’s really invested in education and aware on a lot of issues, and wants us to do better”.

Keller said, “I don’t believe in borders in any kind of ultimate sense. I don’t believe that we, in the U.S., are scarce of resources in any kind of way that should necessitate our shutting down the entrance doors”

“Gus has a lot to contribute, and we would be significantly diminished not to have him here” ended Keller.

Lopez says, “at this point I just can’t give up, it’s inconceivable to me”.

Students talk about FAFSA

A college career is the next step a student usually takes after concluding with high school in order to pursue a career of their interest and preference to further their knowledge and education.

College usually comes along with the mental, emotional, and physical struggles for many due to the fact that one becomes an adult and has to figure out what he/she is going to do about their life and many times one doesn’t really know.

How am I supposed to afford college if my family can’t pay it for me? Should I just enroll in the military? These are just some of the many questions a student asks himself/herself through this period of time.

Well, due to a great federal system that helps students follow their dreams, these can be eligible for Financial Aid to cover their education expenses.

FAFSA is a form that students apply for every year in the United States in order to receive financial aid based on eligibility and financial status.

The student’s eligibility could determine if the student can only receive a fee waiver which pays for the classes only or the full amount which helps students with actual money besides the fee waiver to pay for school supplies such as books, rent, transportation, and other expenses.

Cerritos College animal science major Jaelene Rodriguez, is one of the many students on campus that only receives the fee waiver to pay for her classes. “I know other students get money for their books too, they get more, so they have it better and it definitely helps,” she said.

The student also says that FAFSA has a negative side since for her case, only receiving the fee waiver means that she has to pay for her books and supplies with her own money “Some of them are pretty high, for used textbooks is like $90 and for brand new ones is even more.”

Rayce Williams, communications major also agrees that the aid that students receive is very beneficial since it helps him out with plenty of expenses such as grocery shopping or paying bills at home. He also agreed that he sometimes uses his FAFSA money to go out shopping or on things that are not school related, such as tattoos.

He also said that FAFSA has negative sides that could drawback students.

“How slow it is before we students get it, how the way the disbursement system is, it needs to be faster,” Williams stated.

There is also the other side, students who are not eligible to receive aid and have to pay their college expenses with their own money, for example Paola Buenrostro education major who believes that it benefits students a lot and it works as a way of motivation “I know that if a student passes all their classes they receive it.”