Robyn Gee on Friday, Jul. 15th
On the coattails of Maryland’s Senate Bill 167, which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges, California’s legislature just passed one of two “Dream Act” measures that will make undocumented residents who already qualify for in-state tuition, eligible for privately funded scholarships, reports the Sacramento Bee. The bill, AB 130, will now go to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for a signature.
AB 130 was co-authored by San Francisco state senator Leland Yee, who wrote in a statement:
“The Dream Act is not only the right thing to do for the children of our state, but it is also the right thing to do for California’s economic prosperity. We rightfully invest in all our kids with public K-12 education, and we should also invest in them with higher education. These investments prepare our young people for jobs and innovation. Regardless of the debate surrounding immigration, it is time to stop punishing kids for the decisions of their parents. I am proud to co-author the Dream Act and I look forward to seeing the Governor sign these bills into law.”
The second “Dream Act” measure, AB 131, would make undocumented residents eligible for publicly funded financial aid, but it has not come to the floor for a vote.
Students who are eligible for this new source of financial aid are those who already qualify for in-state tuition under the requirements laid out in California Assembly Bill 540. Undocumented students can pay in-state tuition at colleges in the California State University (CSU) and California Community College (CCC) systems if they have attended a California high school for at least three years, graduated from a California high school, and attended a California institution of higher education within one year of graduating.
Just this past June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to overturn AB 540. The Daily Cal reports, “The [plaintiffs] claimed AB 540 violated the federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which requires states to provide in-state tuition benefits to all U.S. citizens if such benefits are given to illegal immigrants.”