Wednesday, October 12, 2011

California Dream Act: Some Immigrants going to college may receive aid

Some immigrants in California may now qualify for regular in-state tuition to further their education even if they don't have legal documents.  But they have to prove that they are on a path to becoming legal residents.  The cost is estimated at 1% of the grant money available to all student residents in California.  These immigrant students must also go to the "end of the line."

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will help illegal immigrants qualify for Cal Grants and other state financial aid.
     AB 131 was written by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, and joins Cedillo's AB130 to complete the California Dream Act.
     "Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking," Brown said in a statement. "The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us."
     Under current state law, illegal immigrants can pay in-state tuition rates provided that they graduated from a California high school and can prove they're on the path to becoming legal residents of the United States. AB 130, which Brown signed in July, opened up private scholarship and loan money for higher education, regardless of immigration status.
     The more contentious AB 131 allows illegal immigrants to apply for California-taxpayer-funded financial aid. It requires recipients to meet the same requirements as all applicants, but they may only receive aid after all other legal residents have received their state financial aid.     The California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 students will qualify for Cal Grants as a result of AB 131, at a cost of $14.5 million. The overall Cal Grant program is funded at $1.4 billion, according to Brown's press office.

This amounts to approx 1% of available funds.

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