The blog of Academe Magazine. Opinions published here do not necessarily represent the policies of the AAUP.
For over a decade, undocumented students, despite being proper graduates of California’s high schools, have had to fight for equal access to the state’s colleges and universities. Before 2001, California’s undocumented students were ineligible for in-state tuition and they were denied access to the state’s financial aid, both public and private. It would be another decade before the California Assembly and Governor would work together to enact legislation that provided access to financial aid at California’s colleges and universities. (Click here for information about past attempts to pass the California DREAM Act and Governor Schwarzenegger’s subsequent vetoes. Or here. Or here.)
Currently in California, an undocumented immigrant who graduates from a California high school and can prove that he or she is on the path to legalize their immigration status, is eligible for in-state tuition rates. AB 130 allows eligible students to apply for aid from private sources like institutional gifts and endowments at the UC, Cal State and California Community College systems. AB 130 was signed into law July of 2011 and went into effect January 1, 2012. AB 131 will allow all students who qualify for nonresident tuition exemptions, including those who are undocumented, to apply for Cal Grant awards and for other public grants and scholarships awarded by California colleges and universities. This new law was passed in October 2011 and will take effect on January 1, 2013. The law does specify that undocumented students will only qualify after all documented students have applied. Collectively, they are known as the California DREAM Act.
Opponents of the DREAM Act attempted to gather 500,000 signatures to place an initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would repeal the legislation. However, these activists were dealt a blow when the news became public that they had failed. The repeal initiative will not be on the ballot.
Tuition equity: 1 Haters: 0.