Wednesday, August 29, 2007

College Degrees for Immigrants benefit the State

Mercury News Editorial
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched:08/13/2007 01:35:08 AM PDT

Without increasing the student aid budget, California could help undocumented high school graduates pursue a college education.

The "California Dream Act," SB 160 by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, would extend eligibility for Cal Grants and community college fee waivers to undocumented students who've attended a state high school for three years; these students already qualify for in-state tuition but not for state or federal aid.

This is a good investment for the state. Brought across the border illegally by their parents, these young people grew up in California. They'll work in California, pay taxes, use services and raise children. Whether they manage to become legal citizens or not, they aren't going away. With a small investment, the state can help swell the ranks of programmers, nurses and technicians.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed last year's version of the bill, saying it's unfair to give aid to undocumented students when there's not enough for citizens and legal residents.

In response, Cedillo plans to amend SB 160 to let undocumented students apply only for community college fee waivers and "entitlement" Cal Grants, which are guaranteed to high school graduates with a minimum C average who demonstrate financial need. In recent years, more than a third of the money allocated in this category has gone unclaimed, points out Cedillo. The estimated cost of fee waivers and Cal Grants for undocumented students is a tiny fraction of the funds budgeted and unspent.

When it's amended to exclude undocumented students from Cal Grant categories with limited funding, the Legislature should pass SB 160 and the governor should sign it.

With no access to state or federal aid, undocumented students often don't see college as a realistic goal. Some get private scholarships or work their way through - an estimated 1,000 undocumented students attend University of California or California State University campuses - but only the most determined complete a degree.

California will need more college graduates in coming years. In a recent report, the Public Policy Institute of California predicted 41 percent of jobs will require a college education by 2025 but only 32 percent of workers in the state will have the necessary education. We can't count on importing college graduates from India or Indiana, PPIC warns. We need to educate more of the kids already here.

The collapse of the federal immigration bill killed a federal version of the Dream Act which included the promise of green-card eligibility for undocumented youths who complete two years of college or military service.

California can't promise successful students a path to legalization, but the educated are likely to find a way through employee sponsorship or marriage or new federal legislation.

Helping all students who want to go to college will pay off in the future - for the student and the state.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What's After Graduation? One of the hardest questions to answer.

What's next? What can I do with my BA, BS, Master, or PH,D.

Your Testimony!

Plain and simple...State your personnal story or biography.


Explain a situation were you felt left out for not having a Califnornia ID. For instance, you have to take a test and the school staff ask for state ID. You apply for a libray card, but you are deny becuase the lack of state ID.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Immigration as it affects me"

What are the weaknesses and the strengths in regards the Dream Act?