State Senate Passes Its Own Version Of Dream Act

Jan 31, 2014

The state’s undocumented high school graduates may be one step closer to accessing financial aid.

On Friday the Senate passed a measure to make State Need Grants available to students who came to this country illegally with their parents.

Last year the Democratically controlled Washington House passed the so-called Dream Act. But it died in the mostly Republican-controlled Senate. Then on the opening day of the Washington Legislature this year, the House re-passed the bill. Now, the Senate has approved its own version dubbed the Real Hope Act.

In addition to expanding eligibility for the State Need Grant, it would boost funding for the program by $5 million. Sen. Curtis King spoke in favor of the bill, but noted the program lacks enough money to serve all eligible students.

“It’s not going to solve the problem of how these young people are going to find funding to go to college. It may help a few of them, but it’s not going to help all of them,” said King, R-Yakima.

Last year, 106,000 students qualified for the State Need Grant, but there was only enough funding for 74,000 of them. The $5 million in this bill would fund another 1,100 grants.