Dream Act Legislation Could Complicate Student Aid Picture

Ann McClure's picture

Sacramento native Shawn Lewis knows the value of student financial aid.

The son of a struggling single mom, Lewis says he never would have been able to attend UC Berkeley without the $24,000 in annual state grants and private scholarships he receives to pursue his political science degree and dreams of law school.

But Gov. Jerry Brown is now considering whether to sign landmark legislation that would extend state financial aid to illegal immigrants who are college students. And that makes Lewis anxious. Will the law pit illegal immigrants against U.S. citizens at a time of skyrocketing demand for student aid?

Can the state afford the largesse in this bleak economy? "The issue is not students who are undocumented through no fault of their own wanting an education," said Lewis, president of the Berkeley College Republicans club. "The problem is that the public dollars are not there to meet the needs of even [legal] California residents."

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