May 29, 2014

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UUP president testifies in favor of DREAM Act

uupdate 5-29-14

UUP President Fred Kowal expresses UUP’s support for the DREAM Act May 28 at a state Senate Democratic forum in Albany as a representative from PSC/CUNY listens.

In his testimony, Kowal said UUP is fully behind the DREAM Act because children of undocumented immigrants should have access to an affordable, quality college education. The DREAM Act would expand tuition assistance awards, financial aid eligibility and other programs and scholarships for undocumented students.

The state should not block these students from obtaining financial aid because of their parents’ immigration status, he said.

“A quality higher education will provide these students with better job opportunities, higher wages, and a path to a better life,” Kowal said. “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.”

A college education is all but out of reach for some low-income undocumented students, who don’t enroll because of financial issues and other obstacles. Others are unable to attend college full-time, and many lack the funds to complete the courses they need to graduate.

“It does not matter how driven or smart these students are, these DREAMers are unable to obtain the financial assistance afforded to other students facing similar financial struggles—simply because they are the children of undocumented immigrants,” Kowal said.

Kowal, who said UUP has made the DREAM Act initiative part of its legislative agenda, closed his testimony by calling for passage of the measure.

“Investing in their potential, their education, benefits everyone,” Kowal said of undocumented students. “It benefits our campuses, communities, and all of New York State.”

Kowal's full testimony can be viewed here.

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