Volunteers from the University of California Student Association are circulating petitions at each UC campus that ask Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the California D.R.E.A.M. Act into law.
The act would make thousands of undocumented students in California eligible for in-state and institutional financial aid. The UCSA will collect postcards addressed to Gov. Brown until the organization’s “Lobby Day” on Feb. 28, when the messages are sent to Sacramento.
Under California Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), a student who attends a California high school for at least three years and receives his or her GED is eligible to pay in-state tuition fees at state colleges, as long as he or she signs a statement of intent to become a legal citizen. AB 540’s passage in 2001 by the state legislature made it possible for the California D.R.E.A.M. Act to charge immigrant students in-state tuition costs.
According to UCSA campus representative Elysse Madarang, funding for AB 540 students under the D.R.E.A.M. Act would come from pre-existing tuition payments.
“The act will allow undocumented students to access the funds that they are already paying for,” Madarang, a third-year global studies major, said. “These students are already paying full tuition and part of this tuition goes toward funding financial aid, so they should have access to it just like any other student.”
Madarang said the UCSB chapter has collected over 700 postcards to date and hopes to reach 2,000 by the end of the campaign.
Madarang said the UCSA is optimistic the petition will convince the governor — who made campaign pledges to side with student needs — to sign the bill.