The Daily Californian Online

A DREAM come true

By Senior Editorial Board
Monday, May 9, 2011
Category: Opinion > Editorials

When a student earns a spot at the University of California, finances should not prevent his or her enrollment, though this is too often the case for undocumented students.

On Thursday, the state assembly passed one half of the California DREAM Act, AB 130, which allows students attending one of California's public institutions of higher education to apply for institutional aid.

Though similar legislative efforts were unsuccessful twice due to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's use of the veto, Gov. Jerry Brown has said that he would sign the act into law should it pass both houses of California's legislature. We support Brown's policy and encourage him to go through with his stated intent.

On March 8, UC President Mark Yudof released a letter supporting AB 130. We expect that Yudof and the other UC officials endorsing AB 130 have thought through the fiscal implications that the act would have on the already strained university budget. With that being said, we echo their support of AB 130.

Though AB 130 comes at a time when education funding is facing drastic cuts and campuses are being forced to pare down expenses, we believe that a student worthy of attending the finest public university system in the world should not be prevented from doing so based solely on inability to meet rising costs.

AB 131, which is the other bill that makes up the California DREAM Act, would allow undocumented students to receive direct state aid to attend school. Though this bill was suspended briefly, it will likely go up for a vote later this month. While we support the underlying principle, the state simply cannot afford the bill. Until then, state legislators and the governor should focus solely on AB 130 because it addresses financial need for an under-served but deserving population at no direct cost to the state.

With its large undocumented population and world-class university system, California has a chance to lead the nation by example through the adoption of AB 130. We strongly urge California's leaders to assume that leadership role.

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