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California Dreaming

Photo of California Attorney General (and form...Image via Wikipedia

The state of California’s Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation making illegal immigrants eligible to receive state financial aid to attend California universities and community colleges. Highlighting the need to expand educational opportunity, he signed the California Dream Act because it makes sense to allow high-achieving students access to college financial aid. “Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said. “TheDream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.” Under AB 131, illegal immigrants who are accepted into state universities can receive, starting in 2013, Cal-Grant assistance, which last year provided grants averaging $4,500 apiece to more than 370,000 low-income students. The measure also allows undocumented students to get fee waivers in the California community college system. Gov. Brown said that California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 students will qualify for Cal-Grants as a result of this new law, at a cost of $14.5 million. The state of California understands that spending this amount of money resources for the implementation of this measure is an investment-and it is indeed one that is very well spent. Research has shown that opening the American Dream of college for bright and talented youths is tremendously beneficial to the economy and workforce since unleashing this academic force results in a new generation of college graduates who will help strengthen the economic security, bolster the global economic competitiveness and increase the state’s educational standing. Furthermore, these students will be a part of a new set of future taxpayers who would contribute much more as college graduates than they ever would as struggling workers moving from one under-the-table job to another. California has long been a leader in technology, social and policy issues, education, and now it has combined all of its strengths in an undertaking that is sure to bring considerable success and that will ensure the state’s position by continuing to make substantive contributions that will be admired throughout the world. It would be wise for other states to take some of its pointers.

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