Last October, I wrote about a local nonprofit that had just gotten started with the goal to help undocumented students in Kern County
get into college by providing scholarships. Named “The College Dream Fund,” it is headed by retired Kern County Superior Court Judge Sharon Mettler and Jim Young
, chancellor emeritus of the Kern Community College District.
Since then, the group has awarded 21 scholarships to local students attending Bakersfield College, Cal State Bakersfield and Taft College. And it has 44 new applicants waiting and hoping for financial assistance to help them continue their education.
Young estimates that about 1,500 undocumented students graduated from Kern County high schools this year. Maria Rivera is one of them. A graduate of Arvin High School, Rivera was among the top in her class with a GPA of 4.16.
Brought to this country by her parents from Jalisco, Mexico, when she was just 8 years old as undocumented, she excelled in school and wants to eventually attend the University of California to major in biology. But because undocumented students are not eligible for any type of public scholarship or government grant no matter how promising they may be, students have to find other sources of financial aid if they wish to continue their education.
“I knew I had all the requirements except the citizenship part,” said Rivera.
That’s where the College Dream Fund comes in, to fill a financial void to help some of Kern County’s smartest but neediest students get into college. “They’re smart kids,” said Young. Read more…