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ASU partners with foundations to cover students' DACA renewal costs

Roughly 100 DACA recipients will have their renewal costs covered by donors

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ASU President Michael Crow speaks with ASU staff and students after an on-campus forum on the downtown campus on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. During the forum, Crow discussed the University's ongoing support for DACA students. 

ASU has partnered with two foundations that will help cover the DACA renewal cost for roughly 100 students over the next six months. 

The University hasn’t announced the total cost for the renewals, but ASU President Michael Crow said in a meeting with The State Press on Wednesday that the two partners will fundraise “whatever it takes to pay.”

“I don’t know the exact amount, but no one will not be able to have their costs covered,” Crow said.

An ASU spokesperson confirmed that two foundations have volunteered to cover the $495 cost for any DACA student whose status is up for renewal. Both foundations requested anonymity as a stipulation of their donation, the spokesperson said. 

President Donald Trump, in his Sept. 5 announcement of the DACA’s "transition and wind down," gave Congress six months to find a legislative replacement for the program. 

The day of the announcement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiated the termination process of DACA, meaning those who don’t already have DACA status can no longer apply. 

However, current DACA recipients whose benefits expire before congress’s March 5 deadline can still apply for renewal by Oct. 5, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

There are 260 DACA students currently attending ASU, according to the University spokesperson, and roughly 100 of them will need to reapply this year.

DACA recipient Oscar Hernandez, a public policy senior, said the renewal funding was “a very nice gesture,” along with other University initiatives, like free counseling. 

However, he said he also wishes that the University would have provided the DACA student population more information — such as how many students would need status renewals — over the past few months. 

“It’s a very nice gesture. I appreciate that they’re doing that. Like, they’re willing to actually help us with funding for that,” he said. “… I personally am planning on taking advantage of (counseling), just because it’s a very stressful time. I’m dealing with a lot.”  

Crow outlined the counseling options available to DACA students, as well as legal advice and scholarships, in a five-step “action plan” earlier this month.

In the plan, Crow tapped ASU’s Vice President for Government Affairs Matt Salmon to lobby congress to pass legislation protecting DACA beneficiaries. 

ASU Senior Vice President and General Counsel Jose Cardenas, and the dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law Doug Sylvester, were assigned to provide legal advice for affected students.

Crow enlisted the help of Gretchen Buhlig, president of the ASU Foundation, and ASU Senior Vice President Christine Wilkinson to work with donors to seek scholarships and other forms of financial aid for DACA students.

Crow emphasized the University’s commitment to assisting DACA students during a campus Q&A forum on Monday.  

Read more: Crow talks DACA during student forum 

"We have always said, 'focus on moving the student forward.' So, we have done everything we can to support the DACA students, everything that we can to support these individual students who meet our qualifications," Crow said.

He said the University is committed to providing education, financial aid and resources to students who deserve to attend ASU.

“I could tell you stories about these individual students that will make your hair curl … And sometimes their parents are gone, their parents are dead, and they’re still here,” he said during the forum. “Imagine that you came here, someone brought you here as a child and now your parents are dead. You need to move your life forward.”

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