Putting the dream of a college education within reach for New York's immigrant youth, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced that the Assembly's budget proposal includes $25 million to fund the New York State Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
"These young New Yorkers have only ever known America as their home. They go to the same schools, do the same homework, read the same books and take the same tests as every other student, yet they are unfairly denied the opportunity to go to college simply because of their immigration status," Speaker Silver said. "The success of our state and its economic future depends on the talents of each and every single one of our bright and ambitious students - no matter where they came from or how they arrived here on our shores. This year's budget includes funding that gives us the unprecedented opportunity to open doors to tuition assistance for New York's immigrant students, finally allowing them to pursue the college degree they so rightfully deserve."
"Immigration status should never, ever be a barrier to receiving a college education," Assemblyman Francisco Moya, sponsor of the DREAM Act said. "The $25 million allocated toward funding the higher education dreams of thousands of immigrant students here in New York sends a message loud and clear to students, parents, schools and communities throughout the state: the Assembly has always, and will always, fight to ensure equal access to education, for all its students. I thank Speaker Silver for his continued leadership and perseverance in helping to make the DREAM Act a reality."
"In such a progressive and forward-thinking state as New York there is absolutely no reason to close the college gates to some qualified students simply because of a student's immigration status," Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick said. "By funding the DREAM Act, this year's budget reaffirms the Assembly Majority's continued commitment to ensuring that every single student in New York State who wishes to go to college is eligible for the aid necessary to get there."
Since 2002, New York has been just one of 17 states that ensure in-state tuition is available to children of immigrants. The DREAM Act would go a step further by allowing these students to apply for state financial aid and increasing the availability of financial aid options for immigrant students, including a comprehensive list of state educational assistance programs, such as: