A number of colleges and universities in Colorado are doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid for illegal immigrants and others who are barred from receiving a share of federal emergency grants through the CARES Act.
Colorado State University (CSU) has provided $1,500 grants to 400 students, reported The Denver Post. A CSU spokesman told the newspaper that 218 of these students were illegal immigrants, and the rest were those who would otherwise not be eligible for CARES Act aid, such as international students. He said the university awarded those grants “based on an assessment of student need” in the same manner that CARES Act grants were awarded.
The CSU spokesperson told Newsweek that the university was tapping into “state, institutional, and private funding sources” to distribute payments to those students.
The CSU received more than $17 million in federal CARES Act grants, with half going to students as direct payments to help them relieve financial hardship due to the ongoing pandemic. Each eligible students will receive from $500 to $1,000, depending on individual student needs, the university said in a press release.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver has set up a Dreamer Emergency Fund specifically for students excluded from the CARES Act, including 381 students who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era program grants illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children protection from deportation, as well as renewable work permits. The Trump administration announced in 2017 it would terminate DACA, and the Supreme Court is expected to decide by June whether that decision was lawful.
The MSU Denver is raising $300,000 for the fund, with an ultimate goal of $500,000, according to a news release. The university’s vice president told the Denver Post that the individual payment would range from $250 to $650 based on need.
Similarly, the University of Colorado has established a relief fund specifically for students “who face a legal barrier to accessing federal or state financial aid,” with preference toward DACA recipients. Each eligible student can receive up to $1,000 from the fund.
Home to approximately 15,000 DACA recipients, Colorado is one of 18 states that have laws extending in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants who meet specific requirements. Seven of those states, including Colorado, also allow illegal immigrants to apply for state financial aid.
There are approximately 180,000 people living illegally in the Colorado, accounting for about 3 percent of the Centennial State’s population, according to the Pew Research Center.