With the passing of two assembly bills, AB130 and AB131, the California Dream Act created by Assembly, authored by Gil Cedillo, became a law extending certain grants and college free waivers to students.
This law gives documented and undocumented, students that meet the AB540 criteria, eligibility to apply for state funded financial aid.
AB540 was created to give students, that met the requirements, the ability to pay the same tuition and fees as students who are residents attending California community colleges and universities, according to the California Dream Act website.
The site goes on to inform that in order to be considered as an AB540 applicant a student is required to have attended a California high school for at least three years.
The student must also have graduated from high school or obtained the equivalent, California high school Proficiency exam or passing the GED.
A student must also be registered as an entering or currently enrolled student in an accredited institution of higher education in California in the fall semester or quarter of 2001-2002 of the academic year.
If a student does not have legal documentation they must file an application that will legalize their documentation status.
According to the financial aid office at EC, a student that meets the AB540 requirements and applies for the California Dream Act may also be elidgible to qualify for a Free Waiver that will pay for the student’s classes.
Within the same application forms for the Dream Act, a student can apply for a Cal Grant as well.
Now that this opportunity has been created for students, there are various options in which a student can apply for aid to fund their educational needs that they may not have otherwise been able to do so before the Dream Act was instated.
There are many students that are taking advantage of the Dream Act aid, they are submitting their applications just as they would for financial aid “as the deadline, similar for the filing of financial aid, is March 2,” Rene Lozano, EC counselor said.
“It’s just like any other grant check is sent to the student’s home and that student can use the funds according to his or her needs,” Lozano said.
He also comments that many students are unaware of the benefits that this program can provide them
“The only difference between this grant and other grants is that it is state funded, its not federally funded,” Lozano said.
Lozano is also the advisor for the El Camino Dreamers Club, a the group of members that reach out to those in need of assistance or support with the program as well as raising awareness about this option for students.
“There will be workshops for the Dream Act soon to inform students and others about the aid that is available to them,” Lo
With the passing of AB130 and AB131, the Dream Act is an opportunity for students make dreams a reality.