College-bound California high school students who are in the United States illegally will soon be eligible for taxpayer-funded financial aid if the governor signs AB 131, a bill known as the California Dream Act. (Read the full text of the most recent version of the bill here.)
The New York Times reported that this bill, if passed, would give illegal immigrants more education benefits than any other state. A Sacramento Bee story said the bill is estimated to cost California $23 million to $40 million a year. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, California college students receive about $3.34 billion in state-supported financial aid each year.
Only students who have attended three or more years of high school in California would benefit from this law. One provision of the bill states that illegal immigrant students seeking a competitive Cal Grant (there are various kinds, and there are fewer competitive grants) would only be eligible after legal residents receive their funds. Another section says “The number of financial aid awards received by California resident students from financial aid programs administered by the segments shall not be diminished …”
Recent amendments to the bill pushed back the implementation date to January 2013 and specified that it would not apply to students who graduate from adult schools or technical schools.
Should Gov. Brown sign AB 131? Do you know students who would have gone to college if they qualified for state-funded scholarships? If you have an opinion on this subject you’d like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.