Did you know that of the more than 4,500 undocumented students who graduate from New York high schools every year, only 5-10% pursue a college degree due to tremendous financial obstacles? Only 5-10% pursue a college degree. That’s not counting the undocumented youth that do not graduate from high school, still want to go to college but cannot afford it.
The New York Dream Act (NYDA) would provide financial assistance to undocumented youth that already meet the in-state tuition and Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) requirements; therefore, NYDA cannot be an amnesty the way others have tried to portray it.
Many undocumented youth in New York have to go to school part-time or take semesters off to work; this my reality as well. I’ve had to take semesters off from school and be part-time as well; to the point that I will not be graduating from college at the same time my high school friends will.
I had to watch my mother give me all her savings so I could pay for class and I told myself that I would never ask her for money again. I know for many, $2,500 a semester (for a CUNY school) is not a lot, but for us who barely make minimum wage or many times are unemployed, this is a lot of money. Not to mention that tuition keeps rising and scholarships are limited or no longer exist.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has the power to fix this, but he has stayed silent about where he stands in regards to NYDA. Before trying to run for the presidency he still has a state to take care of and immigrants are observing his every move. If Governor Cuomo does not stand with immigrants now, how does he expect to win the elections later on?
Undocumented youth and allies are asking that the Governor include NYDA in the state’s budget which is due April 1st. Yes, April 1st. This is why we need all hands on deck, the deadline is fast approaching.