DREAM Act (Part II) reaches Jerry Brown

California Governor Jerry Brown has the chance to make some undocumented and illegal California residents’ dreams come true if he signs AB 131, the second part of the so-called California Dream Act. Passed through the State Assembly and Senate in the past weeks, it now sits on the Governor’s desk.

The California Dream Act, authored by Assemblyman Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), comprises two bills known as AB 130 and 131. Brown signed AB 130 this July – a bill allowing undocumented residents and college students in the state to receive private funding and scholarships.

AB 131, if Brown signs it, will allow undocumented college students to receive public funding from the state as of January 1, 2013. Undocumented college students in California are currently ineligible for such state funding. But federal law currently allows a state to provide “any state or local public benefit” to eligible undocumented residents if state law “affirmatively provides for that eligibility.”

AB 131 passed the California State Senate on August 31 and the State Assembly on September 2. Should the bill become law, it would provide undocumented residents “with more education benefits than they have in any other state,” according to the New York Times.

The text in AB 131 would amend state education law to require the trustees, board of governors, or regents in charge of the various California public college systems to follow the new procedures. For undocumented students who qualify, universities would have “to establish procedures and forms that enable students to apply for, and participate in, all student aid programs…to the full extent permitted by federal law.”

The bill would provide financial aid in the form of community college district fee waivers, institutional aid from CSU and UC schools, and access to Cal Grants (which students do not need to pay back) for eligible undocumented residents. A Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary estimates the fiscal impact for the 2013-14 school year to be $13 million in Cal Grants, $7.5 to $15 million in fee waivers, and $11.4 to $12.2 million in institutional aid.

AP Photo: Dream Act part 1 (AB 130) held by California Governor Jerry Brown in July.

This article was written by JOEY JACHOWSKI; full article at the STANFORD REVIEW

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