Illegal immigrant college students may soon have access to significantly more financial aid in California, if the State Assembly approves pending legislation.
The bill, known as the California Dream Act, would make about $40 million available to illegal immigrants enrolled in the state’s public colleges and universities who also attended high school in California for at least three years. The aid would be disbursed in the form of scholarships, grants and fee waivers, starting in 2013.
In a 22-11 party-line vote, the Democratic majority in the California Senate recently approved the measure. The State Assembly is expected to pass it, as well, and Governor Jerry Brown has indicated he will sign it into law.
Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, a Democrat from Los Angeles, introduced the bill. He says it is important for California to support the smart, talented and ambitious immigrant students who have already attended the state’s high schools, and who will ultimately be valuable workers.
Opponents point out that because the students in question do not have the citizenship status to enter the work force, they will not be able to get jobs after graduation.
Indiana’s illegal immigrant college students are in a very different situation. Under a tough new Hoosier immigration law, they no longer qualify for in-state tuition, so some are being priced out of a college education.