Marylanders supported Question
4 in the 2012 election by a margin of 58%-42%
and became the first state in the nation to decide by popular vote that
undocumented immigrants can be eligible for in-state college tuition if
students have attended a high school in the state for three years and if they
or their parents have paid state income taxes during that time. This was a huge win in Maryland and sets the stage for a broader immigration
reform message in Washington, DC.
What the Dream Act is and what it isn’t
- The Dream Act IS about opportunity to achieve the dream of a college education by making such an education more affordable.
- The Dream Act is NOT a scholarship program. The state is NOT spending resources to pay the way of undocumented students to attend college; rather, it is charging a rate that is more affordable (in-state rather than out-of-state).
MSEA supports the Maryland Dream Act
MSEA supports the Dream Act for two significant education policy-related reasons:
- Students who qualify under the Dream Act must graduate and have spent three years in a Maryland high school. Thus, not only does this legislation put an affordable college education within reach, it also encourages graduation from high school.
- Prioritizing high school and requiring graduation also helps address achievement gap issues that persist with at-risk and immigrant populations.
Additionally, MSEA has an association-wide commitment to social justice issues and sides with the students we teach, regardless of their immigration status. Our members and our schools educate anyone who walks in the door (legal, illegal, rich, poor, disabled, or non-disabled) and MSEA supports the lifelong learning goals of all of those students.
Finally, as an economic initiative, this legislation requires that families of any students who would be eligible for in-state tuition have paid Maryland taxes over a period of years. Such a requirement will increase reported income and tax rolls. More students attending community college also could result in revenue the state would not have received otherwise.
Who else in Maryland supports the Dream Act?
Dozens of community, government, religious, and advocacy groups have supported the passage of the Dream Act, including: Baltimore City Council; Prince George’s County Public Schools; University System of Maryland; Baltimore Jewish Council; Greater Baltimore Urban League; Maryland Association of Community Colleges; Maryland Catholic Conference; Maryland Interfaith Legislative Committee; NAACP of Maryland; Progressive Maryland; and Service Employees International Union Maryland State Council. See a full list of organizations and government entities supporting the passage of the Dream Act.
The Dream Act also provides new access for military families. The Act creates in-state status for active duty military families residing, domiciled, or stationed in Maryland, as well as veterans who register within four years of discharge.
What is NEA's position?
The federal Dream Act is strongly supported by the National Education Association. While it does some different things than the Maryland version of the Dream Act, it is a model that has led many of our state and local leaders and members to learn more about the issue and support it at both the federal and state level.
How will the Dream Act affect other college applicants?
The Dream Act applies to access to community college first, which is open enrollment, so no slots of Maryland students are at risk. Students who complete 60 credits at a community college and qualify for acceptance to a four-year public college/university also do not impact other in-state applicants. The legislation specifically addresses this issue by indicating the in-state:out-of-state ratio maintained at each college/university should count students admitted under the Dream Act towards the out-of-state allotment. Students admitted under the Dream Act cannot be counted in the ratio of in-state students and therefore are not taking seats at our four-year institutions from other Marylanders.
What is the financial impact of the Dream Act?
The fiscal note indicates the Dream Act calls for an increase in state aid for community colleges of $778,400 for the next fiscal year. The fiscal note does not reflect estimates of how this act will assist in the collection of tax dollars or a net increase in students paying tuition who would not have otherwise been able to afford and attend.
What are the long term effects of the Dream Act?
- In-state tuition has long term economic and fiscal benefits for Maryland
In-state tuition will benefit the state economically and fiscally because the higher future earnings levels that result from advanced education mean increased purchasing power for those Maryland students newly able to attend college. Those higher earnings and increased purchasing power will bring Maryland higher tax revenues, greater consumer spending, and presumably, greater economic growth.
- The Maryland Dream Act will encourage students and families to invest in the state's economy
A study conducted by the Drum Major Institute shows that undocumented immigrants contribute $7 billion a year in Social Security taxes even though they cannot claim benefits from this program. A recent study by the Immigration Policy Institute shows that undocumented immigrants in Maryland alone pay more than $270 million in taxes. The Dream Act requires students and families to show that they have filed Maryland income taxes for three years of high school, every year of college, and every year in between, incentivizing families impacted by the Act to continue to contribute to our economy now and into the future.
- Maryland students attending college are more likely to stay out of poverty, own a home, and raise more highly educated children
The increased educational achievement for Maryland students made possible by the Dream Act means a decreased likelihood they will fall into poverty and a greater likelihood they will own a home and raise better educated children, according to a study by the Higher Education Access Alliance. All Marylanders benefit from less poverty, greater homeownership, and a more highly educated population in our state.
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