Allowing undocumented Nevada students to apply for the need-based Silver State Opportunity Grant without filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, which requires a Social Security number, would cost about $250,000 annually, officials told lawmakers on Thursday.
Attending college can be particularly burdensome for students without legal status, who are ineligible for awards such as the federal needs-based Pell Grant.
While AB213 does not include a fiscal note, bill sponsor Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas) and Andrew Clinger, chief financial officer for the Nevada System of Higher Education, clarified that in order to create an alternative form and process for undocumented students to apply for the grant, the Nevada System of Higher Education will draw up to 5 percent of the Silver State Opportunity Grant program funds, which total $5 million a year allocated from the state general fund.
“That’s why there’s not a fiscal note on that piece, because with that language in there it gives us the resources to go ahead and implement that alternative FASFA,” Clinger said during a hearing before the Assembly Ways and Means Committee last Thursday.
Clinger added that he was unsure whether the complete 5 percent, or $250,000 annual total, earmarked in the bill would be necessary to implement AB213.
“Obviously we want to get as much of those funds out to the students as possible so we will keep those administrative costs as low as we can,” he said.
Flores, who also practices immigration law, added that the process of filling out the alternative form would ensure privacy protection for undocumented students.
“It’s very similar to the way you would go about filling out a passport, except that it would be our own revised new version of it and it would not be reported and it would not go out to the federal government. It would be locally handled within the jurisdictional boundaries of Nevada,” he said.
Read the full article here: Lawmakers clarify price tag for expanding undocumented student access to Silver State Opportunity Grant
This story was written by Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez for The Nevada Independent on May 27, 2021, and shared with Noticiero Móvil.