Gov. Brown signs second part of California Dream Act

Mario Castillo stands with a red cap and blue gown to celebrate the passing of AB 131 with fellow interns at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles on September 2, 2011. The California Dream Act was signed into law Saturday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Simon Gambaryan / Daily Sundial
Mario Castillo stands with a red cap and blue gown to celebrate the passing of AB 131 with fellow interns at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles on September 2, 2011. The California Dream Act was signed into law Saturday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Simon Gambaryan / Daily Sundial

Undocumented students are now eligible for state financial aid to attend public universities and community colleges, after Gov. Brown signed the second part of the Dream Act Saturday.The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act gave undocumented students access to private grants and scholarships when AB 130 was signed in July.

AB 131, the second part of the act, will give these students access to Cal-Grants and other state funded programs beginning in 2013, according to the LA Times. They will also be eligible for institutional grants at any University of California and California State University, and a permit to receive a fee waiver at community colleges.

Eligibility for these funds is restricted to students who have graduated from a California high school after attending the in-state institution for at least three years, show that they are applying to legalize their status and show financial need, according to the LA Times.

Many undocumented students are not able to attend college without financial assistance. Almost 40 percent of undocumented students families’ live below the federal poverty line, compared to 17 percent for native-born families, according to the Immigration Policy Center.

Gov. Brown fulfilled a campaign promise to give eligible students access to college, despite immigration status, by signing the Dream Act.

AB 540, passed in October 2001, which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, inspired the Dream Act. Since then a federal Dream Act has been discussed, but fell 8 votes short during a Senate vote in 2007, according to the United States Student Association.

A UCLA study concluded $3.6 trillion could have been made if the federal bill was passed 40 years ago.

“There’s potential of them contributing greatly to our economy and to our social needs,” said Dr. David Rodriguez, CSUN Chicana/o studies department chair told the Sundial in September. “I think the underlying feature is that it’s good for not only the undocumented students, it’s good for our economy and good for our nation.”

Ten other states have passed laws that allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition, including Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin, according to the Immigration Policy Center.  Nine other states, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, and Rhode Island, are currently considering adopting similar laws.