AB 540 students now eligible for financial aid under California Dream Act.

Daniel Green and Daniel Green

Accounting major Ulisess Rodriguez supports the Dream Act and believes that some AB 540 students deserve financial aid more than others who get it.

Accounting major Ulisess Rodriguez supports the Dream Act and believes that some AB 540 students deserve financial aid more than others who get it.

“A lot of people come for the first three weeks just to claim their own financial aid and just drop out. If these kids are really going to go for it I think they deserve it more.”

The California Dream Act took effect on Jan. 1, and allows undocumented students to apply for financial aid and scholarships.

The Dream Act is made up of two laws that will effect the California law known as AB 540 which allowed undocumented students who were brought to the United States before they were 16 to pay in-state tuition fees.

Under the old laws AB 540 students were not able to apply for financial aid such as the Board of Governors Waiver or FAFSA.

The new laws AB 130 and AB 131 will now allow students who qualify under AB 540 to apply for state aid and scholarships.

Cerritos College President Linda Lacy supports the law and thinks it will help students who have been attending the school already.

“An educated citizen is the best you can have, ” Lacy said.

“I want our students, our citizens, and (those) wanting to be citizens to have the best education they can.”

Undecided major Max Gonzalez also supports the Dream Act and believes it is fair to give some students the same advantages as others.

“I think that it’s a good bill to pass, [it allows them to] get an education, provide them with money…I agree with it.”

A possible concern regarding the bills is that they may cause students who are citizens to pay more and will make them wait longer for classes.

However Lacy does not expect to have a large influx of new students and does not believe that it will hurt current students.

“I think the students have always been here. (They) are just going to feel that they now have a little more financial support and [this bill] just makes it more legitimate,” Lacy said.

Cerritos College Vice President Stephen B. Johnson does expect an increase in students but does not think it will be too large, and the school has been preparing for the new applicants.

“The department has planned on the interest in these applicants for some time, and there are a number of workshops already scheduled,” Johnson said.

Many argue that it is unfair to allow undocumented students to receive state money without paying taxes, especially when the state is already struggling financially.

Johnson believes that allowing these students to attend school will help the state by affording these students the ability to find jobs.

“The expectation is that the students will be continuing in their education and will be able to then proceed into the world of work through their involvement in their educational pursuits at the college level.”