On October 8, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 131 into law, the second half of California’s “Dream Act”. The first half of the Dream Act, Assembly Bill 130, was signed by Brown on January 25, 2011. AB 130 allows undocumented children that have graduated from a California high school and are in the process of legalizing their citizenship to receive private financial aid for college.
Governor Brown is quoted as saying, “Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking. The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of us all.”
Beginning on January 1, 2012, AB 131 will allow the same group of students to receive state funded financial aid to supplement their higher education schooling. This includes both the CAL Grants and the Board of Governors Waiver, or BOGW.
According to the Office of Governor release, the California Department of Finance estimates that 2,500 students will qualify for CAL Grants as a result of AB 131 with an estimated cost of $14.5 million. The overall CAL Grant program is financed at $1.4 billion, meaning that AB 131 will impact one percent of the grants.
Republicans in the California Assembly have already begun the process of petition in an attempt to overturn the bill. The Republicans reasoning behind the opposition of AB 131, is that it will give undocumented residents another reason to break the law by coming to the U.S. illegally.