This month, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of Mendocino College Student Trustee, Leonardo Rodriguez to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).
“We are proud to have Leonardo Rodriguez represent community college students on the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC),” says Mendocino College Superintendent/President Tim Karas. “Financial aid is a critical resource to mitigate barriers to educational opportunity and ensure open access to community colleges for all. Mendocino College is honored to have Leonardo advocating for our students.”
The CSAC administers the state’s $4 billion portfolio of student financial aid programs and services, including the Cal Grant, the Middle Class Scholarship, and the California Dream Act Application. The CSAC serves as a resource for policymakers and the public on college affordability and financing issues, and advocates for policy changes to eliminate cost as a barrier to any qualified California student pursuing a higher education.
At just 20 years old, Rodriguez already wears many hats. He is the 2021-2022 Student Trustee at Mendocino College, where he has been a student since 2019. He also holds the position of Student Trustee at the California Community Colleges League for the 2021-2022 academic year. Rodriguez has been a Registered Behavioral Technician at Autism Intervention Professionals since 2019. Prior to this, he worked as a cashier and construction worker. This new appointment requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem.
Rodriguez, a Democrat, says, “I am beyond proud and honored to be appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the CSAC. This is a testament to the environment that Mendocino College has created for students to succeed and to find their true skills.”
He attributes the support provided through the community college system for making higher education accessible to all, regardless of their identity or past. “I look forward to working with fellow student representative Caroline Alvarez on the CSAC, to present student voices that are essential to discussing educational policy,” says Rodriguez. “The CSAC is where many Dreamers and Undocumented students apply for the CADAA, which is why it was imperative and personal for me to be clear about my undocumented status. I am told I have shattered yet another glass ceiling for obtaining a gubernatorial appointment at 20 years old, as an undocumented student and as a Latino. Although I am proud to know of my accomplishment, I understand that this moment is far greater than myself as it shows my community, the Hispanic community, that we are far more than just stereotypes we are and have always been leaders.”
Leonardo D Rodriguez
CCCT Student Board Member
Mendocino College Student Trustee