Illegals now eligible for scholarships in California state schools

Illegal immigrants will be able to apply for financial aid and merit-based scholarships to help pay their way through California’s public colleges and universities, now that Gov. Jerry Brown this weekend signed the state’s groundbreaking and controversial Dream Act, which ramps up existing allowances for the students in question.

Since 2001, California law has extended in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants as long as they have attended a California high school for at least three years, earned a high school diploma or GED and have proof that they are working to obtain citizenship. Under rules newly signed by Brown, beginning Jan. 1, 2012, illegal immigrants can apply for and receive scholarships derived from non-state funds and, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, for financial aid partially comprised of state funds.

“The future of California’s economy depends on the ability of these students to graduate, to perform well and to contribute. This creates an opportunity,” Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, a Democrat from Los Angeles who sponsored the 2012 measure, told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV.