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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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May 28, 2014

UUP president urges passage of “DREAM” Act

ALBANY - Saying that the children of undocumented immigrants need access to affordable higher education, United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D., testified today in favor of the New York state Development Relief and Education Act for Minors. The DREAM Act would make state financial aid available to undocumented college students.

"UUP fully supports the enactment of the DREAM Act. We believe that extending eligibility for state financial aid to undocumented college students will yield social and economic benefits that will have a positive impact on our students, campuses, and our communities," Kowal told participants at a state Senate Democratic Conference forum.

“A quality higher education will provide these students with better job opportunities, higher wages, and a path to a better life,” Kowal added. “Studies show the median annual income of four-year college graduates is $25,000 higher than that of high-school graduates. With a college education, these individuals will be able to contribute more to their families and their communities.”

Kowal said UUP strongly supports the DREAM Act as part of its legislative agenda, and believes the state should not deny students access to financial aid simply because of the status of their parents.

“Thousands of students in New York state entered the U.S. as children and have lived the majority of their lives in America. Yet they are identified as undocumented based solely on the status of their parents. For some low-income undocumented students, tremendous financial obstacles prevent them from even enrolling in college,” Kowal said.

Kowal added the state would see a return on its investment of financial aid for the students.

“On average, the state obtains about $3,900 annually more in taxes from a person with a four-year degree when compared to a high school graduate,” he said.

Kowal's full testimony can be viewed here.

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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