Dream Act could make higher education a reality for undocumented students

Once again, California is setting the bar for the rest of the country with the California Dream Act, which enables undocumented students with a greater financial ability to pursue higher education.

The California State Assembly approved the second part of a controversial two-bill package that will

Erik Verduzco
SF State student "Miguel" is an undocumented student majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. Miguel came to the United States at the age of one from Mexico. Photo by Erik Verduzco.

allow undocumented students to receive financial aid. Assembly Bill 131, also known as the California Dream Act, passed the state Senate Friday with a 45-27 vote and is now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature before becoming law.

Robert Nava, SF State vice president for university advancement, supports undocumented students and their pursuit of education, while acknowledging that the act does not solve all problems.

“They should go forward with their dreams and make them a reality while understanding that there are going to be challenges ahead,” Nava said. “Education is such an important vehicle that ultimately is going to help them towards a better life and even to adjust their status in the future.”

Nava said that he was very encouraged by the new legislation because it will open up a lot of opportunities for undocumented students in terms of financial aid.

According to an analysis done by a state Senate committee, the extra funding is expected to cost California roughly $40 million, making it 1 percent of the $3.5 billion annual budget for the state’s college financial aid disbursements.

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Dream Act could make higher education a reality for undocumented students