UPDATE: Februray 4, 2013: College can become an affordable reality for kids who were brought here in hopes of finding a better life. College-bound undocumented immigrants who arrived in the state as children, have until March 2, 2013 to apply for state financial aid through California's DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act.
According to Jill Tucker reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle, even with the DREAM Act federal funding is still out of reach. However,the state measure now allows children who were brought to the country illegally, but who attended a school in the state for at least three years, to qualify for up to $12,000 in Cal Grants to use to attend college.
To find out more about the colleges in California and the financial aid that is available check out these helpful links:
Written by Taylor McCulloch.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 17: Prompted by the decision of the California State Supreme Court to uphold the California law allowing undocumented students who have attended a California high school for three years, and graduated, to attend state institutions at the in-state resident tuition rate (see story continued below) and after an anonymous tip was sent to a campus newspaper, Pedro Ramirez, at left, student body president at Fresno State, confirmed that he is in the US illegally -- having arrived with his undocumented parents when he was 3 -- and that he had been open with school administrators and counselors following his election to that post -- and that he had served in the post, which pays a stipend of $9,000, without pay because he was unwilling to lie on employment documents.
In the Fresno Bee (as posted this morning by 4LAKids), reporter Cyndee Fontana writes:
Now [Ramirez is] helping organize an on-campus rally Friday in support of the federal DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. The legislation pending in Congress would allow some longtime residents like him to become legal U.S. residents after spending two years in college or the military.
"The DREAM Act itself symbolizes what it is to be an American, which is our goal," said Ramirez, a junior majoring in political science and agricultural economics. "We want to contribute to the United States, and utilize the degrees and skills we gained, to make it a better place."
Fresno State President John D. Welty, told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday that:
... Ramirez personally notified him after his election about his immigration status and volunteered to serve without pay. Welty said that Ramirez has fulfilled all the requirements of an AB 540 student and that his status does not bar his participation in student affairs. Associated Students Inc. "requirements do not address immigration status, so Mr. Ramirez was not prohibited from running for ASI office," Welty said in his statement. "I commend Mr. Ramirez and other AB 540 students who are following state statute as they seek higher education.”
Previously reported on this site:
Today, the California State Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling written by Justice Ming W. Chin that reversed a decision by the State Court of Appeals, ruled that:
... a California law that guarantees the lower tuition for students who attend California high schools for at least three years and graduate does not conflict with a federal prohibition on giving illegal immigrants educational benefits based on residency...and observed that the state law also benefits U.S. citizens who reside in other states but attend and graduate from high school in California. "It cannot be the case that states may never give a benefit to unlawful aliens without giving the same benefit to all American citizens," Chin wrote.
The case was filed five years ago by a group of over 30 students from the Midwest, who challenged the California law that allowed persons residing in the state illegally to be granted the right to attend California state institutions of higher learning, while simultaneously charging out-of-state tuition to non-California residents who happened to be US citizens.
The students, all from out of state, are represented by a legal team that includes Kris W. Kobach, a conservative lawyer and former Justice Department official who shaped national immigration policy under former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Mr. Kobach said the policy discriminates against out-of-state students who are American citizens and pay higher tuition than students who are in this country illegally.
"Citizen students have been mortgaging their futures and taking on really heavy student loans," Mr. Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said in a telephone interview from Sacramento, where he is working with the firm of Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley. "Meanwhile, they see aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States getting a massive subsidy from the State of California."
While news media is focused on the issue of illegal residents receiving the significant break, the 25,000 students affected by that reality is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of stepchildren, grandchildren, and other friends and relations that will be able to come to California, live with Dad or Nana, and save $22K at, say, UCLA.