12 Jun 2017

The Maryland Dream Act

The DREAM Act was first suggested in 2001 in an attempt to help young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 attain higher education despite their immigration status.

This is a more common problem than many Americans might think. Children who have been raised in the U.S. for most of their lives are graduating from American high schools and find themselves unable to attend college due to their parents’ immigration status. The proposed DREAM Act would have granted temporary residency and a means to attain citizenship to the young men and women who fall into this category.

Unfortunately, despite many attempts, the DREAM Act has never been implemented. In response, many states passed their own versions of the DREAM Act, in order to provide at least some protection to their students.

Maryland’s Dream Act incorporates just one of the DREAM Act provisions. Under the Education Code of Maryland §15-106, Maryland residents can attend university at an in-state tuition rate regardless of their immigration status.

In order to qualify for the Maryland Dream Act, you must fulfill a number of requirements.

  1. You must have attended high school in Maryland for at least 3 years, either during or after the 2005-2006 school year;
  2. You must have graduated from high school in Maryland or received a GED from the State of Maryland either during or after the 2007-2008 school year;
  3. You must have attended a community college in Maryland either during or after the 2010 Fall semester;
  4. You must have met the requirements for non-resident tuition exemption at the community college. Please note: Each community colleges have different standards;
  5. You must have been awarded an associate’s degree OR received a minimum of 60 credits at the community college;
  6. You must have registered at the Maryland public senior higher education institution no later than 4 years after graduating or leaving the community college;
  7. You must have documented proof that your parent or legal guardian filed Maryland state income:
    • For at least 3 years while you attended high school;
    • Each year while you attended community college;
    • Each year after you attended community college until you applied for admission to a university;
    • Each year following your registration at the Maryland public senior higher education institution.
  8. If you are a male student, you must have registered with the Selective Service System.

Once you have been admitted to a Maryland university, you must fill out a standard form outlining your eligibility, and provide any necessary documentation including but not limited to:

  • High School Transcripts
  • Community College Transcripts
  • Affidavit(s) Regarding Citizenship (if applicable)
  • Tax Returns

The Maryland Dream Act is a small step towards trying to help undocumented students attain higher education. Other states which have adopted similar legislation include: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Washington. Hopefully, as more states help to accommodate undocumented students, the federal government will once more consider the DREAM Act.

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