One Year After The New York Dream Act

Ana Vera, Reporter

After a decade, the New York State Dream Act was passed in both the state Senate and state Assembly on January 23,2019. The New York Dream Act allows undocumented immigrants to have access to state financial aid. Unfortunately ,things have not been smooth during the process of applying and receiving confirmation of who will receive tuition money.

The New York Dream Act (NYDA) was written in 2010 by a group of undocumented students from the New York State Youth Leadership Council, a non profit advocacy organization for undocumented youth. After NYDA was implemented many undocumented students were eager to apply. The Higher Education Services Corp (HESC), who is responsible to make sure everything with NYDA runs smoothly, did not involve anybody that wrote the bill to know how they wanted it to be implemented. HESC was not intentional when it came to the implementation, which is what caused many problems. HESC was changing eligibility requirements without consulting with anyone. They were rejecting people that under the state law qualified, but under HESC’s unregulated guidelines did not. Many applications were rejected, leaving applicants confused on to why this was happening. This caused HESC to go back and reachout to new people to help them fix the problem, but even then HESC did not put in an effort to contact qualified people. After speaking with students that applied, they said that the wording in the application was confusing. Students felt hesitant to apply, because they were unsure if their information was truly not going to be shared. This is a common feeling among undocumented people, because for so many years, NYDA was only a dream. Now that it was implemented, many felt worried that with the Trump Administration, their information would be shared.

Data on how many students who have applied and received state financial aid, due to NYDA, is not yet available. But it was estimated that 47,00 people in New York City qualify,and 4,500 undocumented people graduate from a NYC high schools every year. Even though the process has been difficult, this is a good step forward.