UC President Janet Napolitano Speaks to Students at Modesto’s Johansen High

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MODESTO -- Call this the ultimate University of California college recruitment event with “Jedi”-like advice.

"Your focus determines your reality,” UC President Janet Napolitano told students on Thursday.

Napolitano was welcomed with music and applause at Johansen High School in Modesto.

For most students who attended the event, college is the ultimate goal, but the rising cost of education can make that dream feel out of reach.

“As of right now I’m very stressful, very like worried about where I’m going to go, how I’m going to afford for it, how I’m going to pay for it,” high school junior Daniel Barron said.

UC Regents voted for a spike in tuition in January. That means students are expected to shell out $13,000 a year on tuition alone. That figure does not include housing, books or other costs.

Napolitano said families can find financial relief in grants, scholarships and loans.

“Anyone from a family that makes less than $80,000 per year and qualifies for financial aid pays zero tuition and fees at the University of California,” she said.

FOX40 also asked the UC president about the university's current stance on undocumented students.

“We are very clear that at the University of California, our university police aren’t participating in immigration related activities,” she said.

Napolitano also commented on their close relationship with Mexican academics despite the current political climate.

“We have what’s called the UC-Mexico co-initiative and it’s designed to encourage cross-border research on issues that don’t stop at the border,” she said.

For now, the future college students FOX40 spoke with have their own challenges to overcome.

“Challenge of the finance shouldn’t stop me from going because there’s still going to be help no matter where I go,” high school junior Marissa Wood said.

“(I’m) very nervous as of right now but (the event) made me… it got rid of some of that worry,” Barron said.

The UC system is expected to enroll 2,500 undergraduates this year.

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