One of Two DREAM Act Bills Passes CA Assembly
By EGP News Report
A bill that would allow students brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to receive private scholarships at California colleges and universities, passed the State Assembly May 5 on a partisan 52 to 21 vote.
Authored by Assemblyman Gilbert Cedillo, a democrat from Los Angeles, AB 130 is one of two bills that make up the assemblyman’s “California Dream Act” that would allow students to receive private scholarships and/or state resources for financial aid if they meet in-state tuition requirements.
AB 130 would allow students who meet certain eligibility requirements to apply for and receive scholarships derived from non-state funds, in other words, privately funded scholarships at public institutions of higher learning.
More than 200 students, parents and members of the community were on hand for the vote, according to Cedillo’s office.
Cedillo called the vote “historic.”
A second bill, AB 131 is on suspense, but supporters are hopeful it will be released and taken up by the Appropriations Committee before the end of May.
AB 131 is potentially the more crucial of the two bills because it would allow a variety of public funds to go to students previously denied access because of their legal status.
The types of financial aid these students would be eligible for include: Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver; Institutional Student Aid: Student aid program administered by the attending college or university (i.e. State University Grant, UC Grant) and Cal Grants.
Under both bills, students must have attended a California high school for at least three years to qualify.
Cedillo has introduced a version of the California Dream Act every year since 2006.
Supporters, including more than 30 members of the Assembly who testified on its behalf, argue that it is unfair to penalize students who, through no fault of their own, were brought to the US illegally.
Cedillo quoted Mark G. Yudof, President, University of California, who stated, “…the outstanding accomplishments of these leaders of tomorrow should not be disregarded nor their future jeopardized simply because of their legal status.”
Opponents, however, say it’s wrong to use public funds to pay for the education of students in the country illegally, or for that matter, to allow them to “take up precious limited space” in college classrooms. They also argue, given the state’s poor financial situation, any available money should go to students who are citizens.
AB 130 now heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass. Backers are hopeful that Gov. Jerry Brown, a democrat, will sign the bill into law. Former Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill five times.
“The Assembly has taken a historic step in voting in favor of this part of the California Dream Act today. They are helping foster the development of future architects, doctors, teachers, scientists and scholars who are crucial to the success of the California economy. Increasing the earning potential of these students helps all of us by contributing to our tax base; thus improving services and resources. Our effort to improve the California economy is not over, we now move to the next step in making the full California Dream Act a reality. We must work hard to pass AB 131 by ensuring that it is brought back to a vote of the Appropriations Committee in May,” Cedillo said.Print This Post
May 12, 2011 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.