California Illegal Alien Students Now Get Taxpayer Aid for College

We knew this was coming, since the California DREAM Act was signed into law by Gov Jerry Brown in October 2011, but it is still a bitter pill now that actual implementation is here. The cost to taxpayers is at least $13 million yearly, at a time when chainsaw cuts have been taken to the budget in every other area. Sacramento closed a quarter of the state parks to save a similar amount of money. The tuition subsidy is estimated to increase to $65 million in just three years.

Demanding DREAM kiddies have colorful graduation outfits, exhibiting their shallow understanding of education.

Plus, every illegal alien college student in a state institution is taking a slot that should go to a citizen kid whose parents’ taxes maintain the whole system. In Mexifornia, citizens exist to pay the freight of lawbreaking foreigners.

EDUCATION: Financial aid for undocumented students, Riverside Press-Enterprise, January 04, 2013

Berenice Gorosica registered at Mt. San Jacinto College last fall but couldn’t attend because she didn’t have the money to pay for classes.

The 19-year-old Hemet woman is an undocumented immigrant who didn’t qualify for state-funded financial aid.

But beginning Jan. 1, California law allows illegal-immigrant students to access state assistance. Gorosica said it will allow her to finally begin realizing her dream of becoming a registered nurse.

“This is a big help for me,” Gorosica said of the state aid.

About 20,000 people – less than one percent of college students – are expected to apply for state-funded Cal Grants under the 2011 California Dream Act, said Diana Fuentes-Michel, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission.

The law covers students who attended high school in California for at least three years and graduated from a California high school. It also benefits U.S. citizens and legal residents who attended California high schools but later moved out of state, making them previously ineligible for state financial aid.

The University of California system projects that about 300 of the estimated 800 UC students newly eligible for Cal Grants are living in the country illegally. The proportions are roughly similar at UC Riverside, officials there said.

Similar breakdowns were not available for the much larger Cal State and community college systems.

The proposal to offer state grants to undocumented students ignited a contentious debate in the Legislature.

A leading opponent, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said in a statement Thursday that the law is “an insult to every taxpaying citizen, and to every California student.”

“We should reward those who respect our process instead of creating new incentives for those who don’t,” he said.

Fuentes-Michel said the students eligible for the Dream Act already have been educated in California schools and shouldn’t be cut off from a college education.

“We’ve already invested in these students,” she said. “If we deny them an education, then we’re relegating them to limited employment opportunities.”

MAKING COLLEGE POSSIBLE
Luz Gallegos, community programs director for TODEC Legal Services, a Perris immigrant-assistance group, said that when immigrants obtain higher-paying jobs, they contribute more in taxes.

Under an Obama administration policy that went into effect in August, young undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements can obtain temporary work permits.

In 2011, Gallegos traveled three times with a busload of other Inland residents to Sacramento to lobby for passage of the Dream Act.

Many of the kids have been here most of their lives, she said. “There’s so much potential for them. It’s not their fault their parents brought them here undocumented.”

Gorosica came to California from Mexico with her mother when she was 1½ years old. She hasn’t returned since.

She and her mother live separately, each with different friends, because as undocumented immigrants they haven’t been able to find jobs other than babysitting and other sporadic work, and they can’t afford an apartment.

Attending college without financial aid would be impossible, she said.

Robert Calderon of Moreno Valley dropped out of Moreno Valley College in the fall because he could no longer afford it.

Like Gorosica, Calderon, 19, hasn’t been able to find a job.

Calderon said with financial aid, he’ll be able to return to classes this semester and later to transfer to Cal State San Bernardino to study computer science. Calderon has lived in California since he was 1 year old.

BENEFITS AND COSTS
Samantha Yanez, 17, of Riverside, applied to four Cal State campuses for fall 2013 but probably wouldn’t have been able to attend a four-year university if it hadn’t been for the Dream Act. Her parents support her and three siblings on a combined income of $25,000 a year.

“It’s very hard for them to pay the bills we have right now,” Yanez said. “They wouldn’t be able to support the family and then pay for college.”

Yanez, 17, who arrived from Mexico in 2001, has attended Inland public schools since first grade. She is a senior at the California Military Institute high school in Perris.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag with other students,” she said. “So I consider myself American, and then Mexican, because I’ve been to Mexico but I really don’t know it. I haven’t been there since I came here.”

Donnelly said the law will take away money from students who are U.S. citizens.

Even though supporters of the law say it will not affect the number or dollar amount of grants for citizens and legal residents, the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office said in a 2011 report that it could end up reducing how much money citizen students obtain, no matter what legislators’ intent was.

The report estimates the law will cost about $65 million a year by 2016-17.

Donnelly also said the law goes against the wishes of California voters.

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released after the Dream Act’s passage found that 55 percent of voters opposed the law and 40 percent supported it. The poll showed a huge ethnic divide, with 79 percent of Latinos supporting the law, compared with 30 percent of whites.

A separate provision of the two-part California Dream Act went into effect Jan. 1, 2012. It allows the same types of students to access private scholarships funneled through public universities.

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