The California Dream Act became law last year, making it possible for undocumented students in the state to apply for financial aid at colleges and universities. Efforts are now being made to prepare students for the law’s implementation in 2014.
The process of figuring out who will benefit from the California DREAM Act, or how to apply, is anything but easy.
And at a time of shrinking budgets and rising tuition costs, many teachers and students have lingering questions about how the undocumented student population will be able to pay for college at all.
In an effort to help students navigate the system, the California Student Aid Commission is starting an aggressive outreach effort to high school counselors, parents and college admissions officers.
Bryan Dickason is a manager with Cal Grants. He says workshops, held throughout the state, including at six sites in the L.A. area, are meant for AB 540 students — undocumented kids who attended a California high school and are headed to a public college.
"[The DREAM] application, because it’s for a population of students that probably don’t have Social Security numbers, will be a way to get that data to the campuses very efficiently," says Dickason.
Once the DREAM Act benefits kick in next year, many undocumented students will be eligible for in-state tuition, as well as private scholarships and state financial aid, cutting costs by almost two-thirds.
The California DREAM Act does not offer the possibility of legal immigration status. An effort to recall the legislation fell through earlier this year.