Posts Tagged ‘student loans’

AB 131 “California Dream Act” orders colleges to serve illegal immigrant students — at the sacrifice of taxpayers and their children

March 27, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB131—the second half of the so-called “California Dream Act”—into law on Oct. 8, 2011. It has subsequently been approved by the UC Regents. Given the bloated salaries of the ridiculous number of top administrators and their obscene benefits packages, they did not dare to rock the already listing State boat by vetoing the bill; they know which way the political winds are shifting in increasingly liberal California. The law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013.

When it is fully implemented, the “Dream Act” will cost California taxpayers millions of dollars, and deny the children of those citizens the state education and financial aid they deserve so that illegal students can take their place. It’s already nearly impossible for current students to get the classes they need in order to graduate on time—assuming they can win one of the increasingly tight spots for admission—and that will only get worse. In fact, passing of the legislation has already started costing taxpayers their hard-earned money.

How is it already costing the state money? Because all state college systems are required to spend man-hours and dollars “educating” eligible students on their new rights.

Barbra Hubler, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid at SF State, says that as soon as the new law took effect the school began to work with the estimated 300 undocumented students now enrolled there. “The CSU Chancellor’s Office will provide guidance to the campuses on how to implement the changes mandated by the California Dream Act for state financial aid programs,” explains Hubler. adding that many illegal students are unaware of the changes. Sadly, her office’s limited resources and time constraints make it difficult to provide students with counseling and comprehensive information. SF State’s financial aid office has already implemented changes to help students get more information about scholarships they may qualify for. The office currently has two advisers dedicated to assisting “Dream Act” students, and provides training to financial aid and other campus departments to increase staff awareness about the law and its requirements.

But that’s the tip of the ever-dangerous iceberg. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Student Aid Commission, which administers Cal Grants, calculates that 5,462 undocumented students will be eligible for state aid in the 2013-14 school year. Most Cal Grants pay the cost of basic tuition, currently $12,192 at UC, and $5,472 at CSU, for a total of slightly more than $13 million. Earlier reports put the dollar cost at over $40 million annually, which no doubt took into account that “many undocumented students also will be eligible for a fee waiver at community colleges for very low-income students, and others will qualify for institutional aid provided by CSU and UC.” In other words, even if the illegal students get a loan, don’t expect them to have to pay it back.

There are dissenting voices in the legislature. “Tuition rates have been going up, the universities have budget cuts of $1.2 billion and there are lotteries for classes – but if someone is here illegally, we roll out the red carpet,” said Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks (San Bernardino County), who serves as vice chairman of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee. Exactly. We are cheating our own children out of their rightful opportunity, and paying out of our pockets to give those opportunities to students who are draining our economy in many other ways already (free lower level education, free health benefits, food programs, special education classes such as ESL, etc., etc.).” But who listens to people who speak from reason rather than emotion?

How could this possibly cheat “our own children”? Here is a quote from the University of California’s mission statement: “Through our academic programs, UC helps create an educated workforce that keeps the California economy competitive. And, through University Extension, with a half-+million enrollments annually, UC provides continuing education for Californians to improve their job skills and enhance the quality of their lives.”

In other words, the UC and CSU systems were set up to improve the lot of California’s citizens, the children of parents who are legal residents and actually pay for the system through their tax dollars. Whether or not these illegal students may choose to remain in California and contribute to our economy (if they ever pay income tax), what this law does is greatly diminish the opportunities for those who already pay for and deserve a spot in one of our state institutions, as well as the possibility of financial aid—which, by the way, is also paid for by California citizens.

The fact that no other country in the world will provide an American citizen with free education is irrelevant. On the other hand, the statement by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who said that many such students are brought to this country as children “and didn’t do anything illegal themselves,” is equally irrelevant.

What is relevant is that there are many private institutions throughout the country where those students can get an education, the same as any other American citizen. They are also allowed into the UC system if their grades permit, as are many foreign students who pay out-of-state tuition. But to grant these illegal aliens both thousands of places in our state colleges and millions of dollars of taxpayer money is not only an insult to state taxpayers, it is blatantly unfair to the children who are here legally and who deserve those benefits.

As a teacher, I urge both legislators and college administrators to follow the primary maxim of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. It’s wonderful to give a California higher education to illegal aliens, but not when we are doing harm by denying the same opportunity to our own children.

I am the third generation of grandparents who came here from Mexico. My grandparents became citizens through the normal process, and they paid their taxes. I attended the UC system, but received no state aid. I can understand the financial stress of these illegal students, but, frankly, they have other options, and the children of Californians—that is, citizens—come first in my book. Getting a great education at one of our state institutions is a dream, yes, but one becoming much more of an unattainable one to the children of actual taxpayers, thanks to Jerry Brown and other political pimps who pander to the growing majority of Hispanics, legal or illegal, in this state. With the growing political pressure from illegal aliens, the state politicians continue to sell out the rights of legal citizens.