It's here! The day Republicans have been dreading and undocumented California students have been fighting for since 2001.
College kids without U.S. citizenship can now apply for "conditional permanent residency" via the official DREAM Act application, which will allow them access to state financial-aid funds.
"Good news" ...
... Tweeted the California Dream Network. "California AB 540 students (DREAMers) can now apply for CA financial aid through the CA #Dream Act."
Indeed! The application appears to have gone live on the California Student Aid Commission's government website.
Applicants are reminded that this is not a FAFSA application, and will merely "determine eligibility for California student financial aid."
Students must meet the following criteria to apply:
- Have attended a California high school for 3 or more full academic years between grades 9 through 12. They do not need to be consecutive years;
- Have or will graduate from a California high school or have attained a G.E.D.; or received a passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE);
- Register or be currently enrolled at an accredited institution of higher education in California;
- Not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F,J,H,L,A,B,E, etc.);
- Demonstrate financial need and meet all other program requirements.
In the months since Governor Jerry Brown signed the historic AB 131 legislation, the estimated cost of handing out state aid to illegal immigrants has risen from around $25 million per year to around $65 million.
The state Legislative Analyst, Steve Boilard, blamed this massive discrepancy on the rising cost of UC and CSU tuition.
"This legislation essentially says to these students, 'The taxpayers will cover your tuition,'" he told ABC7. "So if the tuition goes up, the taxpayer cost goes up."
Boilard also noted that legal students might see their own grants shrink once the DREAM Act went into effect.
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But Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), the bill's author, has argued all along that undocumented immigrants who have achieved the same academic feats as their U.S. citizen peers deserve the same opportunities to advance. Especially seeing as many are "in the country through no fault of their own."
Which, of course, has set SoCal conservatives reeling.
But as of today, the power is in the hands of the DREAM generation. Have at it, y'all!