Financial aid for everyone


Elizabeth Corcoles

Students working on their Dream Act application. Maria Molina, Physical Therapist, Arely Cardenas, Nursing, with Yossmira Hernandez, Business and Administration major. The FAFSA and Dream Act application for 2018 is due by March 2.

Elizabeth Corcoles

As the March 2 deadline for financial aid and the Dream Act application approaches, students kept the financial aid office busy, during the Dream application workshop as they were seeking guidance with their application.

The Dream Act application is for undocumented and nonresident students whom meet the criteria to apply for and receive private scholarships funded by public universities, state administered financial aid, community college fee waivers and Cal Grants.

Most of the workshops are hands on and require help from the staff members of the financial aid office. Faculty encouraged students to apply for the Dream Act application since the deadline is a few days away.

Jenny Mejia, financial aid tech and outreach coordinator, said it is important for all students who qualify for the Dream Act to apply.

Mejia said it is important because students never know what they qualify for and there is a chance they qualify for both the Dream Act and Cal Grant.

Sarahi Nino de Rivera, a full time faculty member at the financial aid center, explained the process of applying for the Dream Act application.

Nino de Rivera said it is important for students to apply before the March 2 deadline.

She explained students need their GPA from either high school, if they are new students, or a current GPA, if they are current students.

The Dream Act application is a three step process in which takes about 30 – 45 minutes, said Nino de Rivera.

Eliot Garcia, Kinesiology major, guiding the students with their Dream Act application. Arely Cardenas, Nursing major, seeking advice from the Financial aid workers. Photo credit: Elizabeth Corcoles

Before applying for the Dream Act, Nino de Rivera said students should expect to apply for the AB 540 exempt form first.

Afterwards, students submit the AB 540 form to admissions and records. After doing so, students can proceed in applying for the Dream Act and Cal Grant.

Nino de Rivera then explained students should come back within two weeks of applying to the Dream Act to check their “to do’s” on their My Cerritos site, to ensure they are not missing any information.

Mejia said she encourages students to apply for the Cal Grant because so many of the Dreamers do not apply. First time generation Dreamers, along with their families, Mejia said, “are not aware that the state and federal government are willing to pay for their schooling.”

Adding that it may be because of fear of thinking they will have to pay that money back. Onsite campus workshops are offered frequently, said Mejia, to help guide students to a higher education.

Mejia adds, “just know, we’re here to help you figure out what you can or cannot qualify for, and a higher education can be obtained.”