California Expands Alternative Student Financial Aid to Those from Mixed-Status Families


Amid issues with its financial aid website, California’s Student Aid Commission announced April 9 it will offer an alternative financial aid application for first-time students who are U.S. citizens but have at least one parent without a Social Security number.

Such students may apply for aid through the new California Dream Act Application, the commission said in a statement.

Students have complained about an issue with the application’s website that prevents them from applying for federal aid if their parents lack a Social Security number—an issue that has only arisen this year.

The glitch is one of several problems applicants have encountered since last year’s revamp of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA.

U.S. Education Department officials said last month it has fixed some of the issues, and made technical updates that now enable some students whose parents have no Social Security numbers to submit the form.

However, it warned that some students may still have trouble submitting.

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Because of the issues, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation in March that extended this year’s deadline for students applying for state financial aid from April 1 to May 2.

In the statement, officials also noted that the Dream Act application will only make the student eligible for state and campus-based financial aid, not federal financial aid.

Students who complete the Dream Act application but are also FAFSA-eligible are encouraged to complete a FAFSA application as well once the issues with the FAFSA website are resolved, in order to “to access all the aid available to them, including the Pell Grant, work study, and federal subsidized student loans,” according to the statement.


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