Undocumented students small portion of DREAM Act beneficiaries

UC statistics show less than 30 percent of AB 540 students are undocumented

As the second half of the California DREAM Act — which would allow students who qualify for in-state tuition under AB 540 access to public financial aid for the first time — reaches Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, the topic of undocumented students has garnered mass media and public attention.

But although the bill carries enormous symbolic significance for many students, the DREAM Act would affect a relatively small number of those enrolled in California public higher education. And the majority of students who could benefit from the bills — contrary to popular belief — are actually not undocumented.

According to UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez, in the 2009-10 academic year, 2,157 of the 231,853 UC  students qualified for in-state tuition under AB 540 across the entire UC system. Of this group, the UC Office of the President estimates that only 480 to 614 of these students were undocumented.

In the California Community Colleges system, the number of AB 540 students is much higher, according to Director of Communications Paige Dorr. However, AB 540 students still constitute a relatively small part of the student population — 1.3 percent of the 2.8 million students total for the 2009-10 academic year. For the California State University, the proportion of AB 540 to all other students is similar, according to Erik Fallis, CSU media relations specialist.

Both the community colleges and CSU do not estimate the number of undocumented students currently studying on their campuses.

AB 540 — which was enacted in October 2001 — qualifies these students for in-state tuition based on three main criteria:

  • Attending an in-state high school for at least three years.
  • Graduating from a California high school or receiving a high school equivalent degree.
  • Not holding one of many nonimmigrant visas, as defined by federal law — which applies directly to undocumented students.

Furthermore, AB 540 also requires that undocumented students who meet these requirements certify that they are taking steps to legalize their immigration status or will do so as soon as they are eligible.

The UC Annual Report on AB 540 Tuition Exemptions for the 2008-09 academic year estimates that 30 percent of undergraduate students to whom the UC  has granted in-state tuition under AB 540 are undocumented. The report estimates that less than 5 percent of the AB 540-filing graduate students are undocumented.

The majority of students who have benefited from receiving AB 540 status for the past decade at UC Berkeley have been Asian American students who are legal residents of the United States, according to the report.

But of all the students provided for under the DREAM Act, undocumented students have come to represent the bill in the public eye.

Jessica Rossoni covers higher education.

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  • Anonymous

    In state California students dreams of acceptance at Cal turn into nightmare by Cal Chancellor Birgeneau.

    University
    of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau
    ($500,000 salary) displaces qualified for public university at Cal Californians
    with $50,600 FOREIGN students

     

    Public University of California
    Berkeley is not
    increasing enrollment. $50,600 FOREIGN students at UC Berkeley are getting into
    Cal at the
    expense of instate students.

     

    Yours is the opinion that can make the difference email UC
    Board of Regents   [email protected]

  • Ronzo, PhD, UCBerkeley, 1999

    I just skimmed a few comments and am not surprised to find some nasty racist commentary.  Let’s ask another question: Do we want intelligent, high achieving people to raise the bar in our schools, to create creative and dynamic workplaces, to contribute to our society, or do we want a bunch of complainers who take no responsibility and blame others for everything?  Hmmm.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

      [I just skimmed a few comments and am not surprised to find some nasty racist commentary.]

      What comments were “racist”? Care to point them out? Or do you just accuse people of being “racist” when you have no other argument to make?

      • http://www.webhamster.com/ The Sharkey

        “…do you just accuse people of being “racist” when you have no other argument to make?

        Nail, head, hit on, etc.

  • Learn2piechart

    Ms. Rossoni, do you not understand the concept of a pie chart, or are you intentionally trying to mislead the audience?  How is 480-614 of 2157 only a tiny sliver of the chart? 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

      Excellent point, even I missed that one…

  • Anonymous

    I love University of
    California (UC) having been a student and lecturer. But today I am concerned
    that at times I do not recognize the UC I love. Like so many Alumni, Donors, Legislators,
    and Californians I am deeply disappointed by the pervasive failures of UC
    senior management and regents.

    Californians suffers
    from 19% unemployment (includes those working part time, and those no longer
    searching), mortgage defaults, loss of unemployment benefits. And those who
    still have jobs are working longer for less. Chancellor/Faculty
    wages must reflect California’s
    ability to pay, not what others are paid.

    UC Berkeley (Cal) planned pay raises
    for generously paid Faculty is arrogance. UC Berkeley (ranked # 70 Forbes)
    tuition increases exceed national average rate of increase. Chancellor
    Birgeneau’s leadership molded Cal into the
    most expensive public university in the USA.

    Can we do better with
    a spirit of shared sacrifices by Faculty, Provosts, and Chancellors?

    (17,000 earn
    more than $100,000)

    No furloughs.   

    18 percent decrease UCOP
    salaries, $50 million budget cut.

    18 percent prune chancellors’ salaries.

    15 percent trim tenured faculty salaries,
    increase teaching.

    10 percent non-tenured faculty pay decrease,
    increase research, teaching.

    100% elimination
    of Academic Senate, Academic Council budgets.

     

    There is no
    question the necessary realignments with reality will be painful.

     

    UC Board of Regents Chair
    Sherry Lansing can bridge the public trust gap with reassurances salaries reflect
    depressed California
    wages. With UC’s shared financial sacrifices, the sky above
    UC will not fall.

     

    Opinion, email
    UC Board of Regents   [email protected]

     

    • Guest

      “wages must reflect California’s ability to pay, not what others are paid”
      This is economic nonsense.

      • Gentlekind

        Huh, you can’t understand ability to pay?

        • Guest

          Tell your landlord or grocer how much you’re able to pay; see how long you can conduct business on those terms.  If UC employees are paid whatever the State says it can afford, they’ll soon be on welfare or looking for work elsewhere.

          • Anonymous

            we are discussing  generously paid faculty who earn big bucks on their research and consulting in addition to UC salaries.

            If you were earning $10,000 more in the private sector you would probably be part of the 19% unemployed in California.

            Recommendation check your employability in the job market. 

          • Guest

            “generously paid faculty who earn big bucks on their research”
            Tell that to an assistant professor of Serbo-Croatian, then stand back.

          • Moravecglobal

            Good point…some of the unnecessary raises should go to  assistant professors like yourself…most of the tenured professors. Chancellor Vice Chancellors and Provost need concessions of up to 18%.

            Check your employability in the employment market place to determine how those who allocate salaries value your skills.

            Good luck!

          • Guest

            It seems to be your practice to generalize from exceptions.  That can only generate misapprehensions and mistakes.  Most of what you assert is untrue or true only to a very limited degree.

          • Anonymous

            Unfortunately all my comments are facts such as UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau displaces qualified for public university at Cal Californians with $50,600 FOREIGN applicants.
            During Chancellor Birgeneau’s 8 year reign $150 million of inefficiencies are a result of his leadership etc

            I’ll provide more facts if you need the

          • Guest

            The Chancellor hasn’t displaced any California students.  The legislature refused to fund any slots for them, so he’s filled the vacancies with fee-paying students.  I don’t think there are any more facts about it.

          • Anonymous

            Californians paid millions of taxes to build and fund University of California over many years. The cost of the buldings is not amortized in the tuition fees charged to FOREIGNERS UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau displaces qualified for public university at cal Californians with $50,600 Foreigners who receive  discounted tuition prices to attend Cal.
            UC Berkeley senior management abuses California tax payers by subsidizing FOREIGNERS.

            Birgeneau does not represent the interest of instate Californians.

            Birgeneau most be honorable retired.

      • Anonymous

        University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau
        ($500,000 salary) displaces qualified for public university at Cal Californians
        with $50,600 FOREIGN students

        Public higher education University
        of California Berkeley is not increasing enrollment. $50,600
        FOREIGN tuition students at UC Berkeley are getting into Cal at the expense of instate students.

        Opinions to UC Board of Regents   [email protected]

    • Guest

      Please be considerate enough to restrict your comments to the topic of the article.

      • Anonymous

        Guest…thank-you for taking the time to read my comments. I acknowledge your observation

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the DREAM Act legislation, these students are simply educating themselves, giving themselves the privilege of expanding their horizons even if they are undocumented. What these people don’t see is that while many are receiving federal aid, or abundant scholarships open to U.S. citizens, the small portion of undocumented students are busting their backs trying to work, trying to look for resources that will give them the finance necessary to receive a higher education. The DREAM act will bring forth a bit of change, hopefully to the community of undocumented students.  

    • Anonymous

      Illegal aliens are welcome to educate themselves using their own money and without displacing legal residents. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

      [What these people don’t see is that while many are receiving federal
      aid, or abundant scholarships open to U.S. citizens, the small portion
      of undocumented students are busting their backs trying to work]

      Plenty of us LEGAL CITIZENS busted our backs trying to learn as well, and some of were part of the work force and paying taxes well before we went to Cal. Once again, why should any legal citizen be required to support someone here illegally?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

    What a bunch of unadulterated crap. These aren’t “undocumented students”, they are ILLEGAL ALIENS. In addition, it’s hardly consistent to whine and cry about the UC system and students being “underfunded” when we there’s enough money out there to give it to people who aren’t even here legally…

  • Guest

    We are  supposed to believe that the purported statistics applicable to one paradigm will be so under an entirely new paradigm. In other words, the number  of illegals that apply when there is no financial aid  is not going to be the number of illegals that apply when there is financial aid. Add to this the fact that starting  with the high school class of 2012, UC inaugurates an admissions scheme designed to tremendously advantage relatively low performing students  at uncompetitive high schools even more than they already have been advantaged from  having inflated GPA’s  due to a lack of serious competition. UC’s new admission scheme declares  the top 10% of students at any high school based on GPA,  eligible for admission regardless of   the student’s Sat or Act scores.  The ELC(eligibility in the local context) group was formerly limited to the top 4%.  If a student with an inflated GPA at an uncompetitive high school cannot post the very minimal Sat/Act scores needed to qualify for admission, it is false  to assert that student is in the Top 9% of California students and therefore admissible to UC.   There is also no longer a requirement to have taken Sat Subject exams.  A student at a competitive high school is tremendously disadvantaged under UC’s new admissions scheme.  The bottom 90th percentile at highly competitive high schools that are themselves highly selective in admissions, can easily have overall higher Sat/Act scores than the top 10% at uncompetitive high schools. To have any fairness at all, an admissions scheme should look at the overall competitive level of the high school when considering the class rank. The top 10% of California students by class rank adjusted for the competitive level of the school could mean the top 50% at one school, top 20% at another and  top 1% at another.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

      [We are  supposed to believe that the purported statistics applicable to
      one paradigm will be so under an entirely new paradigm. In other words,
      the number  of illegals that apply when there is no financial aid  is
      not going to be the number of illegals that apply when there is
      financial aid.]

      Ah, but here’s where the cognitive dissonance of “progressives” sets in.  These goo-goo lefty liberals don’t have any grasp of the most fundamental principles of basic economics, such as supply and demand, or how people respond to incentives. These are the same people who raise taxes on one group, thinking they are going to get X amount of money, then are taken by surprised when there is a revenue shortfall. The fact that people change their behavior to adjust for changes in taxation and/or subsidy levels is simply beyond their ability to grasp…

  • We Are All Human!

    Well, I am positive that there would be more so-called AB540 students if the dream act actually passed…  I mean, this land was once part of Mexico, the least they could is let Mexicans get the same benefits that a student born here gets… Later, the Dream Act should offer it to everyone who actually wants to learn and study and make a bright future

    • Guest

      And I want to sign a contract like Mark Teixeria and play first base for the Yankees for the next 8 years, or get paid to do a move like Leo DiCaprio, or hit a drive like Dustin Johnson, guess what, I never will, life’s not always fair, the DREAM Act is a disaster.  I don’t care about the difference between illegal and undocumented, they are in themselves, the same thing.  These students have no business being students here.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

      [Well, I am positive that there would be more so-called AB540 students if
      the dream act actually passed…  I mean, this land was once part of
      Mexico]

      Well, it isn’t any more. Anyone jumping the border from Mexico without going through the legal immigration process has no more right to squat here than someone from Croatia, much less receive taxpayer funding for their education…

    • Anonymous

      California once belonged to the Ohlone Native American Indians (as well as other Native American tribes) and not the Mexica tribe which migrated to modern day Mexico City.  In any case, we should be giving preferential treatment to French students, not Mexicans, since the French once owned Mexico.

    • Guest

      “this land was once part of Mexico”
      And Ireland was once part of Great Britain.  Things change.

    • Anonymous

      Mexico once belonged to Spain

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002105351766 Don Honda

    This sounds like a lot of propaganda.  If this information is so important for us to know, then why is it being put out there now?  This whole past year has been nothing but propaganda (“They’re undocumented–not ILLEGAL” –“how racist”, “they’re getting leftovers that no one wants or applies for”, etc., etc.)  Why has the news releases and marches and villifying has been done and about ILLEGAL ALIEN STUDENTS?  Why is the estimated cost of AB 131 @$38 million then?

    If you want to read the bill yourself and decipher it and decide what ILLEGALS are getting:

    http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_131/20112012/

    fee (tuition) waivers, subsidies for books, living expenses, Board of Governors discretionary funding, other State and Federal monies.

    And, still an estimated 30% of AB540 eligibles are ILLEGAL ALIENS where no one keeps tabs on the numbers of, while fees have gone up 20%, more out-of-state students are recruited, special Federal funds are returned to the university if it enrolls 25% of a certain group–all contributing to an unbalanced competition for enrollment because the State of California is broke.

    AB 131 would require ILLEGAL ALIEN students to sign an affidavit that they will pursue citizenship.  There is no requirement that they do pursue citizenry and no way to enforce it.

    Don’t believe this hype.  Read the bill.  Do the work.  Decide for yourself.  Don’t let some glib words and downplayed statistics make you lazy and give away the store.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

      [This sounds like a lot of propaganda.]

      Of course it is. What else would you expect from Bezerkeley’s equivalent of Pravda or Granma?

  • Dez

    I’m Going  To Write An Argumental Paper About The Dream Act, Is There Any Main Arguments I Should Be Focused On?

    • Anonymous

      Scarce resources, illegal aliens, discrimination.