San Diego Community Colleges Get $3.4M for Pride, Dreamer Resource Centers

Programs for students with experience in foster care will also benefit from the federal funding secured by three San Diego-area congresspeople.
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  • The San Diego Community College District is getting $3.4 million in funding from Congress.
  • The funding will go to programs benefiting LGBTQ+ students, former foster youths, and undocumented students.
  • About 10,000 students make up the SDCCD.

California's largest community college district is getting millions in federal funding for student assistance programs.

Congressional representatives from San Diego secured $3.4 million in grants for the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) to aid LGBTQ+ students, undocumented students, and students with experience in foster care.

SDCCD includes roughly 100,000 students at the San Diego College of Continuing Education, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College.

Out of the $3.4 million in total funding, $1.2 million will go toward supporting LGBTQ+ students, including creating and expanding pride centers across the district. The money will also be used to hire a regional coordinator to work with local agencies that provide services for LGBTQ+ students and fund annual and weekly programs for the LGBTQ+ community, according to a news release.

U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., secured the funding for LGBTQ+ students and serves as the vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus and co-chair of the Transgender Equality Taskforce.

"LGBTQ+ youth should be focused on living their lives, but instead many are dealing with mental health issues resulting from the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, policies, and violence," Jacobs said in the release. "... This funding will expand spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and allies to freely and safely be themselves, and strengthen programs that create community and teach advocacy skills."

U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., advocated for $1 million to fund the Gateway to College and Career Program at the San Diego College of Continuing Education for young adults who recently left the foster care system.

The program provides 18- to 24-year-olds individualized support, learning opportunities, and work experiences to encourage them to graduate from high school, pass a high school exit exam, or start community college with financial support, according to the program's website.

"Community colleges are an integral part of our region's educational landscape," Peters said in the release. "It's my job to fight for funding that supports SDCCD's mission to uplift generations of students, especially those aged out of foster care who enter a new world of opportunity and challenges."

The third grant includes $1.2 million in funding to support Dreamer Resource Centers at all four colleges of SDCCD. These centers provide undocumented students with financial and academic services.

San Diego City College and San Diego Miramar College already have support programs for undocumented students.

The funding will also go toward expanding outreach to undocumented students at high schools and help finance an annual Undocumented Student Conference, according to the release.

U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., advocated for the funding, saying that high-quality education is the "great equalizer."

"Dreamers and undocumented students deserve a fair shot at the American Dream like everyone else," he said in the release. "...These Dreamer Resource Centers have the potential to positively benefit thousands of students by offering critical support and financial aid."