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Queens Chronicle

Tuition aid for NY Dreamers starts

More than 1,500 undocumented students apply in first two weeks

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019 10:30 am

Applications for undocumented college students to receive state aid for the first time are on now online.

More than 1,500 applications for aid under the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act were filed within the first two weeks, said a spokeswoman for the Higher Education Services Corporation, the agency in charge of administering the plan.

The program, named for the late state senator from Jackson Heights, provides financial aid for college to students who went to high school in New York, where immigration status is not tracked.

It is virtually the same aid that all other students are eligible for, including the Tuition Assistance Program, called TAP, and Excelsior Scholarships.

The new plan also allows undocumented parents to save for college for their children in tax-free 529 accounts.

The application treads a thin line, asking students about their immigration or citizenship status.

But it does not require those without legal status to provide a home address.

The new tuition-aid law will affect an estimated 146,000 young people who were educated in New York public schools but were not eligible to receive financial aid under state law.

The new law offering aid to undocumented students is part of a larger effort to normalize life for people uncertain immigration status.

The Legislature also passed a new law at around the same time that would allow undocumented adults to apply for driver’s licenses in New York.

It also passed new legislation reducing maximum sentences for certain misdemeanors that would have exposed undocumented people to deportation.

“The late Sen. Peralta was an early outspoken champion of this cause, and he would be proud to know that this day has come,” City University of New York Chancellor FÈlix Matos Rodr’guez said when applications went online.

Peralta died last November of complications from leukemia.

So far, printed applications are not available, only online at www2.cuny.edu/financial-aid/applying-for-financial-aid/jose-peralta-new-york-state-dream-act/.

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