BY CHRISTYANNE SAN JUAN
FRONT PAGE EDITOR
Photo courtesy of AP Images.
College of the Desert has announced that it will be opening new Dreamer Resource Center at several of its locations to further accommodate AB 540 students in their pursuit of higher education. “AB 540” refers to the California Assembly Bill 540, which allows eligible undocumented students to have access to in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in California.
The new educational assistance endeavor being pioneered by the college aims to help improve student success. Furthermore, the college wishes to successfully transition AB 540, dreamer and undocumented students into university. This will open an additional support system for these students and allow them to respond to a variety of different students and their individual needs. COD has been taking special care in this respect, as focus groups have been held at the Mecca/Thermal, Indio, Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs campuses where the centers will be opening.
Superintendent/President of the Desert Community College District, Joel L. Kinnamon said, “College of the Desert embraces diversity in all forms and the right of all people to have access to quality higher education in a safe learning environment.”
The center itself will feature a multitude of services for AB 540 students, such as academic advising from a designated AB 540 counselor, California Dream Act assistance and scholarship resources and informational workshops focusing on topics such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal and Know Your Rights. Additionally, the center will provide a welcoming and safe space for students to study and engage with their fellow peers.
“College of the Desert students, including undocumented students, are encouraged to pursue their educational goals and access all available resources provided by College of the Desert and the State of California,” stated Kinnamon.
Until the Dreamer Resource Center opens, there is also a student-run support organization for AB 540, dreamer and undocumented students by the name of Alas Con Futuro (ALAS). ALAS is a club made up of both documented and undocumented members, all currently pursuing higher education. The mission of ALAS is to facilitate information on educational opportunities and financial resources for undocumented students. The students involved do this primarily by educating the larger Coachella Valley about the issues facing AB 540 students, as well as making those students aware of the services available to them.
The Dreamer Resource Center will be opening this spring at the Mecca/Thermal, Indio, Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs campuses. For more information about the center and the services, it will provide, contact Rubi Berrecil Gonzalez at email@example.com or by phone at 760-346-8041 (Ext. 7179). To find out if you are a student eligible for exemption from nonresident tuition, visit collegeofthedesert.edu/dreamers.