Illegal immigrants can now apply for state-financed scholarships and aid at state universities after Gov. Jerry Brown announced last Saturday that he had signed the second half of a legislative package focused on such students.
The bill is the second half of the California Dream Act. Mr. Brown signed the first half of the package back in July, which approved private scholarships and loans for students who are illegal immigrants.
Under current law, illegal immigrant students who have graduated from a California high school and can prove they are on the path to legalize their immigration status can pay resident tuition rates. The bill would allow these students to also apply for state aid.
The contentious second half of the package requires that immigrant students meet the same requirements as all other students applying for financial aid at state universities but specifies that they qualify for financial aid only after all the other legal residents have applied.
Critics say it undermines immigration laws and encourages illegal immigration.
The bill is different from the federal Dream Act, which includes a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. Despite this difference, it is a step in the right direction to help students continue their education so they can become beneficial members of society.