Financial Aid Open to ALL – California DREAM ACT

December 10, 2011 Category: College News

The California Dream Act signed by Governor Jerry Brown has now given a chance for the “American Dream” for many.  This new law grants financial assistance for college to illegal immigrants.

Starting in 2013, illegal immigrants who are accepted by state public universities and are eligible will have access to financial aid through Cal Grants.  Last year Cal Grants, a public program, gave financial aid to more than 370,000 low-income students.  Students can also obtain fee waivers to the community college system through Cal Grants.  Students who are illegal immigrants need to meet certain requirements to be eligible.  These requirements include graduating from a California high school after attending school in the state for at least three years.  Students must also provide documentation to show they are in the process of applying to legalize their immigration status.  Students must also show financial need and meet academic standards.  This new law also makes students who are illegal immigrants eligible for institutional grants while they attend a University of California or a California State University.

Two Sides to Look At

This particular bill has caused much tension and controversy within the political and educational realms.  There are always two sides to any issue, it is just a matter of finding a good mid-ground to continue.

One side of this new law allows high-achieving students who want to become citizens the opportunity to attend college without taking their immigration status into consideration.  Gov. Jerry Brown states, “The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”

Many of these students have been through the school system for all 12 years due to the fact that they were brought here at a very young age.  They had no say in the matter, so why should they not have the same rights as any other student in California.  Supporters of this law say it will help students gain an education and eventually contribute to the workforce.

On the other side we have opponents stating that in an already strained state, it cannot afford to help those who are in the country illegally.  They also assert that this law rewards illegal behavior and ends up hurting American and legal resident students who would then have to compete with students who are in the country illegally for financial aid.

The Land of Opportunity

The Dream Act is and will always be very controversial.  Any political move involving immigrants legal or not will cause tension within the ranks of politics.  Growing up here legally or otherwise, you always hear about how “America” is the land of opportunity.  Showing your educational strength and proving oneself in this country should be rewarded.  This is not giving out handouts nor is it rewarding or supporting illegal behaviors.  There are requirements that need to be met and “necessity” to be shown.  Given this, the same opportunity should be given to all!

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