May 24, 2013
By Stephanie West
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has released a report estimating the cost and economic benefits of the proposed New York State Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (NYS DREAM) Act, which would increase access to financial aid for undocumented college students. The report concluded that extending eligibility for the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to undocumented undergraduate students would provide economic benefits to the state at a very small cost.
“Passage of the New York State DREAM Act would lower the financial barrier to college education for undocumented students,” DiNapoli said. “A better educated workforce will benefit New York’s economy. This investment would yield valuable economic benefits for New York State down the road.”
Nearly 95 percent of all state-funded financial aid given to students who are New York State residents stems from TAP. Last year, TAP provided more than $920 million in financial assistance, aiding nearly 30 percent of the state’s enrolled students.
DiNapoli’s report estimates that additional TAP costs would be less than $20 million, an increase of less than 2 percent, if extended to current undocumented undergraduate students attending the City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) colleges.
Undocumented college students, while eligible for in-state tuition rates if they demonstrate New York state residency, are currently ineligible for TAP. To qualify for TAP under New York’s proposed Dream Act (A. 2597-Moya/S.2378-Peralta), undocumented students would have to either have graduated from a New York high school, which they attended for at least two years, or received a New York State GED. Applicants would have to apply to a postsecondary institution within five years of receiving their high school diploma or GED.