Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland), prime sponsors of New Jersey’s version of the DREAM Act (S-2479) issued the following joint statement today:
“After nearly a decade of debate, New Jersey is finally moving beyond the discriminatory policies that for so long have denied a population of young people access to college and the American Dream.
“New Jersey’s version of the Dream Act will afford all residents eligibility for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities regardless of documentation, and it will take effect immediately which in many cases will cut in half the cost of tuition beginning next semester. This is a victory for children who have grown up in our state, attended our schools and have asked only for the same opportunity as their peers to get a higher education, so they can do better for themselves and their families than the generations that came before them.
“We remain committed to providing access to financial aid for New Jersey residents and we will not rest until we succeed in doing that. However, our goal was to get rid of an exclusionary system that threatened to harm our state economy by holding promising and aspiring young students back.
“We are proud that all New Jersey residents will now have access to a higher education immediately and they will no longer be given second-class status by the state they call home.”