Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Second part of California Dream Act advances

Photo by un.sospiro/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The second of two state bills referred to as the “California Dream Act” was approved 7 to 2 today in the Senate Education Committee, which approved a companion bill earlier this month. Known as AB 131, the bill would allow undocumented college students access to public financial aid.

AB 131 faces slimmer odds of becoming law than its companion bill, AB 130, both of which are sponsored by Gil Cedillo, a Democratic Assembly member from Los Angeles. Unlike AB 130, which allows undocumented students to use scholarship money not derived from public funds, AB 131 would allow these students access to the same kind of publicly-funded assistance available to other students, such as Cal Grants state grants and other aid.

The bill would amend existing law, which now bars undocumented college students from receiving public financial aid. An excerpt from the text of the bill:

This bill would amend the Donahoe Higher Education Act, as of July 1, 2012, to require the Trustees of the California State University and the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, and to request the regents, to establish procedures and forms that enable persons who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under the above-described provision, or who meet equivalent requirements adopted by the regents, to apply for, and participate in, all student aid programs administered by these segments to the full extent permitted by federal law, except as provided. This provision would apply to the University of California only if the regents, by appropriate resolution, act to make it applicable.

This bill would provide that persons who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under the above provision, or who meet equivalent requirements adopted by the regents, are eligible to apply for, and participate in, any student financial aid program administered by the State of California to the full extent permitted by federal law.

This bill would require the Student Aid Commission to establish procedures and forms that enable those persons who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under the above provision to apply for, and participate in, all student financial aid programs administered by the State of California to the full extent permitted by federal law.

This bill would prohibit persons who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under the provision described above from being eligible for Competitive Cal Grant A and B Awards unless specified conditions are met. The bill would make these provisions operative as of July 1, 2012.


The bill would also require community college districts to waive the fees of students who qualify for a waiver. Opponents have complained that the cash-strapped state can’t afford the legislation.

Unlike the similarly named proposed federal legislation, neither bill proposes granting legal status to undocumented college students. Both of the California Dream Act bills now head to the Senate Appropriations Committee, with votes expected by the end of June.

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