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Fresno State President: How the CARES Act Neglects Some of America’s Most Vulnerable College Students



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California State University, Fresno recently received $32 million of the more than $525 million given to the California State University system via the CARES Act. Of that $32 million, $16 million was provided to students as emergency grants. The money is meant to help students pay for things like food, housing, childcare, healthcare and course materials, amid the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus.

Emergency aid should go to the students who need it most, which is why I was incredibly disappointed to see that the U.S. Department of Education has gone to great lengths to turn its back on some of the most vulnerable students in our community: Dreamers or DACA students.

Weeks after the law was passed, the Education Department told colleges they could not use any of that grant money to help international students and those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. Several Congressional leaders later wrote to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, asking her to reverse that directive. Taking a step further, the California Community Colleges system and Washington state attorney general have both filed lawsuits against the Education Department.

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