Dream Act gives new hope to undocumented students

by Stephanie Barrera |Staff Writer|

A bill that will allow undocumented students to receive financial aid while attending California’s public colleges and universities was signed earlier this month by Gov. Jerry Brown.

 

The California Dream Act is a bill that aims towards helping undocumented students receive privately funded scholarships while attending any University of California, Cal State or California Community College.

 

According to the facts and stats on the CSUSB web site there are over 17,500 students enrolled. There are no statistics available that show the percentage of undocumented students that are enrolled.

 

However, there are students who attend this campus that are being directly affected by the California Dream Act.

 

Diana Arreola, a second year Spanish major at CSUSB said she entered the U.S. illegally with her parents at the age of six from Mexico, which makes her a qualified candidate for the California Dream Act.

 

Before this bill passed, financing college was not an option because she was ineligible for any grants or loans she said.

 

Arreola said that many students in her situation “are not at fault, we grow up with the idea that we’re going to college only to attend and find out there is no financial help.”

 

With the California Dream Act, any student who was brought to the U.S. illegally before the age of 16 and earned a high school diploma after attending school in the states for at least three years is eligible to receive financial aid.

 

Arreola explained that she always knew she was going to college regardless of her citizenship.

 

She believes that the California Dream Act is a positive move towards helping students who want to better themselves.

 

“Coming from a Hispanic family, education is a big part of working towards a better life,” said Arreola. She finds it “important to stand out and show people that Hispanics can do something.”

 

Her future goal after graduating is to learn another language aside from English and Spanish, and become a court translator.

 

Although the California Dream Act will help Arreola achieve her goals there is also an opposing view of the bill.

 

Students who are documented and already receive financial aid will now have to share that money with the undocumented students that qualify to receive grants and scholarships through the California Dream Act.

 

“We are in the San Bernardino County where there are many low income Hispanic communities,” said Arreola.

 

Arreola believes that CSUSB will have an increase in the number of undocumented students; however, she is not worried about sharing financial aid.

 

“Sharing financial aid is a big controversy but it’s important to remember that immigrants are also paying taxes so students like her should also benefit from it,” said Arreola.

 

There are positive and negative views about the new bill, according to californiadreamact.org the bill was created to promote education and to better the state’s future one student at a time.

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