August 26, 2019
Christina Jimenez

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley today sought to assure immigrant students receiving or applying for financial aid that educational benefits, including tuition assistance, will not be factored into so-called “public charge” rules changes put forth by the federal Department of Homeland Security.

“All students, regardless of their immigration status, are welcome in California’s 115 community colleges,” Oakley said. “We encourage students and prospective students to continue to apply for the financial aid that they may be eligible to receive and to pursue their educational goals at community college.”   

The state Chancellor’s Office has received a number of inquiries regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s changes, set to go into effect Oct. 15, to the “public charge” rules governing a person’s admissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

A Chancellor’s Office legal advisory distributed to the system’s colleges notes that the department’s final rules include definitions of “public charge” and “public benefit” that significantly expand the impact of the public charge test, but do not reach educational benefits. The advisory further notes that the department has stated, “Pell grants and student aid programs will not be considered in the public charge inadmissibility determination.”

Financial aid information, including information for undocumented students, is available at in English, Spanish and Chinese. 

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.