March 12, 2015

Assembly's Families First Budget Proposal Provides $27 Million in Funding for DREAM Act

Continuing the Assembly Majority's support of providing higher education aid opportunities to immigrant youth, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced that the Assembly's Families First budget proposal includes $27 million to fund the New York State DREAM Act.

"Hundreds of thousands of immigrant students have received an education through New York State's public education system, yet for many of those students, higher education is out of reach because of their immigration status." said Speaker Heastie. "Including the DREAM Act in the Assembly budget proposal further proves our commitment to New York's immigrant youth and to providing equal access to education to all New Yorkers."

"These students work hard in New York schools only to face closed doors and lack of opportunity. Immigration status should never be a barrier to receiving a college education," said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, sponsor of the DREAM Act. "Passing the DREAM Act sends a strong message that the Assembly values the immigrant youth that call New York home and that they will fight to get these students the access to education that they deserve."

"The vast majority of undocumented students who graduate from New York high schools do not pursue a college degree due to the lack of financial aid opportunities," said Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick. "The success of our state depends on our younger generations. New York State is throwing away immense potential by not helping these students pursue their higher education dreams. This funding for the DREAM Act could change that and change the lives of thousands of deserving students."

Current state law excludes undocumented immigrant students from the state's financial aid programs. The DREAM Act would provide immigrant youth with access to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the state's educational opportunity programs, including the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP) and the opportunity programs available at community colleges.

Under the proposed DREAM Act, students are eligible for TAP funding if they:

California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington have already passed legislation allowing immigrant students access to state financial aid.