Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a law on Monday that would help undocumented students fulfill their dream of continuing their university studies.
The bills were approved earlier this year by the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate and have finally been signed by Governor Ralph Northam. This new legislation allows all students to access financial support from the state to continue with their higher education, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status. The measure goes into effect on August 1, 2022.
“We want everyone to have the same opportunities so they can live the American dream. It’s about fairness and allowing people to pay for college tuition, that’s the difference between having a higher education or not having it,” Northam said.
In addition, private institutions will now be able to offer financial support to university students under the DACA program through the TAG scholarship program , of up to $ 4,000 for undergraduate students and $ 2,200 for those pursuing a master’s degree.
“I am relieved that other students like me are finally going to have the opportunity to come to college. I know that financial is a very big barrier, we don’t know where to get money from,” said Karla Mercado Dorado, who is a 22-year-old who will benefit from the new law.
The Golden Market student gave a speech during the signing of the bill at Marymount University, where she revealed the difficulties she has faced as a Dreamer.
“They tell you that if you work hard, and do everything you have to do, you are destined to be successful and you will get to where you want to go. Unfortunately for us undocumented students, we can try as hard as we want but there will always be barriers,” added Mercado Dorado.
According to the governor’s office, more than 12,500 students under the DACA program could benefit from this new measure.
“This is a step for Virginia to lead the nation and I hope that we continue on this path and also make federal aid and other job opportunities possible so that these incredibly talented kids can reach their great goal.” added Irma Becerra, the president of Marymount University
About 37% of the state’s population has a college degree compared to 30% of the national population, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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