Sep 4, 2013 8:29 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Second phase of California Dream Act gives qualified undocumented students Cal Grants

For the first time this Fall, qualified undocumented students attending a state university are receiving state-funded Cal Grants, up to $12,000 per year. According to NBC News, 7,218 undocumented students who are a part of the California Dream Act, were awarded Cal Grants for the 2013-2014 school year. NBC News also reports that the Cal Grants cost the state $831 millions dollars. Armando Garcia, 22, a recent Cal Poly grad, said his time in college would have been financially easier had the Dream Act been around then. "When I was applying for colleges, I knew that I wasn't gonna be able to pay for it with help from the government," said Garcia. That is because Garcia is an undocumented citizen. He said his parents brought him here from Mexico at 9-months old. But since that day, he said he's always felt like an American student, just without the benefits. He said, "I've always paid my own tuition. I paid my own way through Cal Poly. I didn't get any grants or anything like that, and that's actually what helped me get more motivated." But now, undocumented students who are in Garcia's old shoes, will be able to receive financial help from the state, if they have qualified for the California Dream Act. Lois Kelly, the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Cal Poly said, "The students can qualify for up to $5,472 to go towards the payments of their fees. And then students who qualify for what's called an access grant, receive an additional $1,473 to assist them with expenses-books, personal expenses, and so on." Garcia said the Cal Grants will be very beneficial to current undocumented students. He said, "It's a waste of talent for people not to be able to go to school, not to be able to get help paying for school because the United States has invested so much money into these people that it'd be kinda foolish to just kinda leave 'em once they get to college." The California Dream Act does not come without some controversy. NBC News reports opponents believe this will give more of an incentive for undocumented minors and their parents to come into the United States illegally.



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