Assemblyman Perry: Assembly Gives Senate an Opportunity to Pass the DREAM Act to Make the Dream of Attending College a Reality

Assemblyman Perry (D-Kings County – 58th AD) announced he helped pass the New York State DREAM Act for the second time in the 2014 legislative session (A.2597-A). This measure –which would allow children of immigrant parents to apply for scholarships and tuition assistance to help them pay for college – failed in the Senate after the Assembly passed it in February. With the Assembly reauthorizing the legislation, the Senate now has another opportunity to pass the DREAM Act this year.

“Too many hardworking students have been needlessly disadvantaged when all they want to do is succeed in this wonderful country,” said Assemblyman Perry. “The Senate needs to do the right thing and get on board with the DREAM Act because that is what’s fair. Every student deserves access to a quality higher education.”

In addition to creating a private scholarship fund (the DREAM Fund), the DREAM Act would allow immigrant students to apply for state scholarships and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). The DREAM Act would also expand access to the New York State College Tuition Savings (529) Program through family tuition accounts. The family tuition accounts would be available to anyone who provides a valid taxpayer identification number.

The legislation requires undocumented immigrant students to satisfy certain conditions to be eligible for state tuition assistance and educational opportunity programs, including having attended high school in New York State for at least two years and having graduated or received a high school equivalency diploma in-state. Since 2002, undocumented immigrants have been paying in-state tuition rates at SUNY and CUNY colleges and universities. The DREAM Act goes a step further by granting access to a broad range of state educational assistance programs to children of immigrant parents.

“Every student deserves a shot at success. Immigrant students who have met the requirements should have an equal opportunity to attend college, regardless of their citizenship status,” said Assemblyman Perry. “I’ve helped pass the DREAM Act twice in the Assembly this session. It’s now up to the Senate to join the Assembly in passing the DREAM Act and make the dream of attending college a reality for these students.”

With passage of the DREAM Act, New York would join other states, including California, New Mexico, Texas and Washington, in offering state financial assistance to immigrant students.