Budget Includes $27 Million For NYS DREAM Act

ALBANY – Speaker Carl Heastie and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick announced the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2019-20 Budget includes $27 million to support the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act, which will enable New York’s immigrant students to access higher education in order to fully participate in the state’s economy.

“For years, the Assembly Majority has championed the New York State DREAM Act,” said Speaker Heastie. “We are both proud and relieved to finally see this legislation become the law of the land. This measure corrects an injustice that has for too long deprived immigrants of the resources they need to be successful and forced hard working New Yorkers to live in the shadows.”

“Higher education is key to ending the cycle of poverty, but for most students college is impossible without financial aid,” said Assemblymember Glick. “Our public primary and secondary schools are required by law to educate our children and prepare them for college, regardless of residence or immigration status. This funding will help correct an injustice that has for too long hurt so many New York students, as well as our state.”

“With this budget, DREAMers in New York will finally be able to step out of the shadows and use higher education to live their American Dream,” said Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa. “By including the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act in the budget, we are sending a clear message to our immigrant population that we value their contributions to our state, and we are committed to helping them succeed.”

The Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act would eliminate potential financial obstacles to obtaining state financial aid for undocumented students in New York seeking to attend an institution of higher education. Under the bill, these students would be eligible for general awards, performance based awards, or New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funds if they:

* Attended an approved NYS high school for two or more years, graduated from an approved NYS high school and applied for attendance to a NYS college or university within five years of receiving their NYS high school diploma; or

* Attended an approved NYS program for a state high school equivalency diploma, received their state high school equivalency diploma and applied for attendance to a NYS college or university within five years of receiving their state high school equivalency diploma; or

* Are otherwise eligible for in-state tuition at SUNY, CUNY or community colleges as prescribed by their admission criteria.

The SFY 2019-20 Budget clarifies eligibility requirements and includes:
* United States citizens;
* Permanent lawful residents;
* Individuals granted U or T non-immigrant status;
* Individuals granted temporary protection status;
* Individuals of a class of refugees paroled by the U.S. Attorney General; and
* Applicants without lawful immigration status.

Although federal law requires that every state provide primary and secondary education to all children regardless of their residence or immigration status, current New York State law prohibits these students from receiving state financial aid for higher education.

The legislation would also help immigrant families prepare for the costs of higher education by allowing an individual with a taxpayer identification number to open a New York State 529 family tuition account under the New York State College Savings Program.

The bill was renamed this year in memory of the late Senator Jose Peralta, who was a passionate champion of the DREAM Act and a tireless advocate for all immigrants.

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