California Legislature passed both provisions of the bill which was then sent to the governor to be signed. Ánimo Pat Brown is home to many undocumented students that would have faced difficulty had the law not passed.
The California Dream Act’s provisions AB 130 and AB 131 assists undocumented students who meet the required eligibility index to acquire financial aid the state offers. Over 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year, many of them face difficulty financing college expenses.
The California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 students will qualify for Cal Grants as a result of the bill, at a cost of $14.5 million. The overall Cal Grant program is funded at $1.4 billion, meaning that 1 percent of all Cal Grant funds will be potentially impacted.
The California Dream Act will take effect on January 1, 2013 allowing undocumented students to apply for state-funded aid. Although it took time to pass, this act will benefit a significant amount of students currently residing in California illegally. Similar Acts have been passed regarding undocumented students and financial aid.
At APB there is a program that assists undocumented students searching for financial aid. Ánimo Dreamers is a program started by Jose Cruz, an APB graduate who won the Gryphons Giving Back scholarship, a scholarship in which a graduate proposes a program to aid the following class.
“Being undocumented is not easy,” undocumented senior Rafael Guevara said.“Everything is possible.”
Rafael retains optimism despite the difficulties. “If they don’t want to help me, I will find a way to have a better future.” This determination as well as his academic progress, makes Rafael an excellent applicant; however, his legal status deprives him of his opportunity.
California is home to many undocumented individuals who experience disillusionment with the government.
“It’s hypocritical how a country founded by immigrants denies them an opportunity to better themselves,” Ánimo Dreamers advisor Marissa Martinez said. Many people have no knowledge regarding the trials the undocumented youth face and the lack of sympathy might coerce the potential college applicants into disassociating the possibility of college from their lives.
This negligence only leads to even more discontent with the established system.
“It is unethical that undocumented individuals were being persecuted, they are just like you and me: people who only want a better future,” Rafael said.
These problems are only an addition to the various difficulties the state of California faces. The economic state of the country also makes the passing of this bill a struggle. A lot of the country’s money is being used on keeping immigrants out instead of educating them.
Advocates such as Kimberly Arenas, President of the Ánimo Dreamers, feel that undocumented students are at times “more deserving” than others despite their citizenship status.
“It is not fair, most students were brought here at young ages and had no say in their migration, but now their efforts would not be in vain,” said Kimberly. “There are too many people with power in the legislature that have biased views pertaining to anyone that is not American.”
Undocumented Senior Katia Martinez felt “restricted” because she lacks the money required for a university and knows that she would have faced difficulty in attaining financial aid had the act not been passed.
“I’m happy the law passed and am excited to apply for the scholarships available,” Katia said.
Katia and Rafael are two of many undocumented students who know that their academic ability will be able to aid them to achieve their goals.
“Realizing the truth makes me sad because it is the reality; it took the law a while to pass, why did they just allow it in the first place?” Rafael said.
“The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives,” State Governor Jerry Brown said.