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Should undocumented students get college financial aid?

Natalie Cass, Getty Images
Natalie Cass, Getty Images

Amazing how far we’ve come. Not long ago – in fact just before the gubernatorial election – Governor Christie told the Latino Leadership Alliance in New Brunswick that he was in favor of the DREAM Act.

The law gives the children of undocumented parents the ability to attend college here in the state paying the in-state rate provided they graduated from a New Jersey high school they attended for at least 3 years, as opposed to paying the out-of-state rates.

As part of the act, lawmakers wanted to push for financial aid for those students – something he vetoed.
Turns out lawmakers not only want the finger, but the whole arm this time – because according to a story on, they’re pushing for the financial aid portion previously left out.

Financial aid for these students was part of the budget the legislature handed to the Governor.
Now, given that he’d already slashed the pension contribution down to a third, did they really think that giving financial aid to undocumented students – albeit benefiting from the DREAM Act – was going to pass muster with Christie.

The Tuition Aid Grant program is being pushed by two assemblymen:

“They’re here. They’re part of our society. They’re working here. They’re paying rent. They’re living here. They’re being part of our economy. We need to take care of them,” said Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson.

“To attend college, even at in-state rates, doesn’t mean much if you can’t afford it,” said Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen.

In vetoing the financial-aid portion from the bill last December, Christie said that isn’t necessary to provide tuition equality.

Giancarlo Tello, a youth program organizer for the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, said the financial impact on the state budget would be negligible.

While I would agree that it doesn’t make too much sense to be able to attend college and not qualify for aid – it’s overreach to try and do so in a budget where so much else has been slashed.

That fact added onto the win that these undocumented students recently scored by seeing the DREAM Act signed into law by the Governor should make them realize victories are won a battle at a time.

And this is no time to fight this battle.

Should undocumented students get financial aid to attend college?

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