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May 29th, 2013

Assemblyman Skartados on passing of DREAM Act

Assemblyman Skartados

Assemblyman Skartados (D-Milton) has announced that the Assembly passed the New York State Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (A.2597). The proposed law would create a private scholarship fund (the DREAM Fund), and allows immigrant students to apply for state scholarships and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to help them pay for their higher education.

"As an immigrant, I faced many of the challenges that students from working families face when they try to obtain a college degree," Assemblyman Skartados said. "The DREAM Act will make it easier for immigrant students to get a higher education and take the first step towards achieving the American Dream."

Since 2002, immigrants have been allowed to pay in-state tuition rates at SUNY and CUNY colleges and universities. The DREAM Act provides access to additional state educational assistance programs, including the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP). Immigrant students would be required to attend high school in New York State for at least two years and graduate or receive an equivalency certificate in-state.

In addition to increasing access to state aid, the DREAM Act sets up the DREAM Fund, an initiative that would raise private funds to provide scholarships for eligible college-bound children with at least one immigrant parent. It also expands access to the New York State College Tuition Savings (529) Program through family tuition accounts, noted Assemblyman Skartados.

"I want to make sure all students have the ability to attend college," said Assemblyman Skartados. "The Senate should pass this important legislation so that all-hardworking students can have the opportunity to get a college education."

Assemblyman Skartados, who is a sponsor of this legislation, emigrated from Greece. He taught himself English and worked his way through school, eventually graduating from George Washington High School in upper Manhattan. He was then able to put himself through State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, where he graduated with honors and a degree in Political Science while also working in the Commandants Office of the New York Military Academy.

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