The California DREAM Act bill was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, making undocumented immigrants eligible for state-funded financial aid when attending California universities.
By signing the bill, Brown enabled undocumented immigrants to receive fee waivers in the community college system.
“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said in a statement. “The DREAM Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”
As stated in an article for Southern California Public Radio, before signing this particular bill Brown also supported AB 130, the companion to AB 131. AB 130 allows undocumented California college students access to privately funded scholarships and grants.
Starting in 2013, 2,500 additional students will be eligible for Cal Grants, according to the California Department of Finance. This could cost the sate about $14.5 million out of the $1.4 billion budget of the Cal Grant Program.
“I’m surprised it actually passed,” said 24-year-old biology major Cameron Harrison. “But all in all I think everybody has the right to an education so I’m glad Brown signed it”.
Those who are eligible for AB 131 must graduate from a California high school after attending the school in state for at least three years, according to the Los Angeles Times. Students must also affirm they are in the application process of legalizing their immigration status, meet academic standards and show proof of financial need.
Although AB 131 is different from the federal proposal of the DREAM Act, some are still hesitant of the services provided.
“I don’t understand how people who are here illegally are basically being rewarded for their crime,” said 27-year-old undecided major Abigale Webster. “We legal California residents are still struggling to pay for our education and we’re pretty much being forgotten.”
Other students disagreed.
“People complain that we’re being ignored and cheated out of money that is supposedly rightfully ours,” Harrison said. “Except there are students who completely ignore the financial opportunities that are provided to us and they’re only crying about it now because they’re greedy and don’t want to give it to a good cause.”
Byron Douglas, a 19-year-old undecided major, said the state is too deep in debt to provide any financial assistance.
“It makes me laugh when I see people get into heated debates,” Douglas said. “We should all just relax because this state is so broke eventually nobody’s going to get anything.”