The Maryland Dream Act

For the first time, qualifying undocumented immigrant students will be eligible for in-state tuition rates and state financial aid through the Maryland Dream Act. Thousands of students will benefit and will be able to access higher education in this state over the next many years. On passage of this initiative, Maryland will join 13 more states that offer some sort of a tuition equity for students who are undocumented.

Through the Maryland Board of Elections, an unofficial tally of votes was reported, with 58.3 percentage supporting the initiative and 41.7 percentage against it. An estimated 96 percent of this enclosing boundary have reported, which also included early voting and election-day voting. However absentee ballots were not included. Per reports, the final decision on the votes will not be officially tallied until Nov. 16. In addition to this. No official announcement will be made before December 7.

It needs mention here that the bill was passed in the state’s General Assembly sometime back in April 2011 and then got the approval of Gov. Martin O’Malley. However, opponents took this as a chance and gathered many signatures to force a referendum.

While this initiative draws its name from a federal bit of legislation, (the DREAM Act) this state level bill is limited in scope. The DREAM Act was proposed to provide a pathway to US citizenship for eligible undocumented young people who go to college or serve in the military. The bill last came up for a vote in 2010, but failed to get enough votes.

Remember, this Maryland Dream Act does not refer to citizenship in any way. It only permits some undocumented students a better opportunity to state funding for higher education. To be eligible under this Act, students should have attended a Maryland high school for at least 3 years and be able to provide proof that their parents have paid taxes. Alabama and South Carolina do not encourage enrollment for undocumented students, as well as some colleges in Georgia.

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