Gov. Jerry Brown signs Dream Act for state's illegal immigrants
Declaring the need to expand educational opportunity, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed legislation making illegal immigrants eligible to receive state financial aid to attend California universities and community colleges.
Brown said he signed the California Dream Act because it makes sense to allow high-achieving students access to college financial aid.
“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,'' Brown said in a statement. "The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.''
Under AB 131, illegal immigrants who are accepted into state universities can receive, starting in 2013, Cal-Grant assistance, which last year provided grants averaging $4,500 apiece to more than 370,000 low-income students.
The measure also allows students who are not in the country legally to get institutional grants while attending the University of California and California State University systems, and to get fee waivers in the California community college system.
Brown said that California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 students will qualify for Cal Grants as a result of AB 131, at a cost of $14.5 million.
"The overall Cal Grant program is funded at $1.4 billion, meaning that 1% of all Cal Grant funds will be potentially impacted by AB 131 when the law goes into effect,'' said a statement from his office.
-- Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York, reporting from Sacramento
Photo: Supporters of the Dream Act hold a July rally in Lynwood, Calif. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times