Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the California Dream Act, which makes illegal immigrants eligible for state financial aid at public universities and community colleges, reports the Los Angeles Times.
However, the governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed state universities to consider applicants’ race, gender and income to ensure diversity. A state initiative bans college admission preferences based on race and ethnicity.
Brown also vetoed a bill that would have made it harder to start charter schools.
The California Dream Act applies to students who’ve graduated from state high school after attending for at least three years and have affirmed they’re trying to legalize their status. Starting in 2013, they’ll be able to apply for Cal-Grants for low-income students, University of California and California State University grants and community college fee waivers.
“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.”
The Dream Act will allow 2,500 additional students to qualify for Cal-Grants at a cost of $14.5 million, Brown estimates. That represents 1 percent of the total cost.
The state budget is in the red. More cuts to higher education are likely. Already, students are having trouble getting into the classes they need, especially at the community college level.
Republicans predict the Dream Act will draw more illegal immigrants to the state. A state initiative to repeal the bill is likely.