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Illinois to Offer Donation-Based Scholarships for Immigrants

Aug 17, 2011

Illinois recently signed its DREAM Act into law, which will result in the children of immigrants getting financial assistance to continue their studies at state higher education institutions. And it won't cost taxpayers a single penny.

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By Jessica Lyons

education

Illinois Passes its DREAM Act

The Illinois Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn on August 1, 2011. It creates a scholarship fund that will be entirely privately-funded and will specifically assist students who are the children of at least one immigrant parent.

'The Illinois DREAM Act creates more opportunities for the children of immigrants to achieve a fulfilling career, brighter future and better life through higher education,' said Governor Quinn.

In addition to having an immigrant parent, to be eligible Illinois students must have a high school diploma or GED, and have gone to one of the state's high schools for a minimum of three years. High school counselors will be required to provide the children of immigrants with information about the program. The scholarship can be used at both public and private Illinois colleges.

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Commission to be Formed

The act also calls for the formation of a nine-member commission in order to oversee the scholarship fund. All members, who will not be paid, will be appointed by the governor. According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the members will reflect 'geographic and ethnic diversity.' Faculty members and administrators from colleges and students could be among the commission's members. Some of the commission's duties will be to help raise scholarship funds and get the word out about the scholarships.

The Importance of the DREAM Act

Whether it's the Illinois DREAM Act or the proposed national DREAM Act, these pieces of legislation aim to give students from immigrant families a chance at a better education, regardless of their or their parents' immigration status. These students won't have to feel like their goals are unachievable because they might be in the country illegally or because their families can't afford to send them to college.

Find out about the tough decisions teachers make when they have illegal immigrant students.

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