AACTE Joins 32 Organizations in Supporting the Dream Act of 2017

In a letter led by the American Council on Education, AACTE joined 32 organizations this month in supporting the Dream Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill introduced July 20 by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The legislation would provide a path for young immigrants who entered the United States as children to attain lawful permanent residency status if they meet a series of requirements.

The target population is immigrants who in essence know only the United States as their home. Individuals may be eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Are longtime residents who came to the United States as children
  • Graduate from high school or obtain a GED
  • Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least 3 years, or serve in the military
  • Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of U.S. history
  • Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country

In addition, the bill restores the ability of states to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students on the basis of residency – but states are not required to do this.

The letter, sent to Senate leadership July 25, urged the passage of the Dream Act as soon as possible. Supporters say the legislation would move our country forward, returning the United States as a global leader in higher education attainment. Citing the estimated 65,000 Dream-eligible students who graduate from American high schools each year, the letter calls upon leaders in the Senate to pass the bill by the end of the year.

View a video of the press conference on the bill’s reintroduction featuring Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Lindsey Graham here. For more information on the bill, please review the one-pager and section-by-section analysis.

The full list of signatories on the letter includes—

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
American Association of Community Colleges
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
American Council on Education
American Dental Education Association
American Indian Higher Education Consortium
Association of American Universities
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Association of Community College Trustees
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Association of Research Libraries
College and University Professional Association for Human Resources
Council for Advancement and Support for Education
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
Council for Opportunity in Education
Council of Graduate Schools
Council of Independent Colleges
Education Testing Service
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
National Association for College Admission Counseling
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
National Association of College and University Business Officers
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Council for Community and Education Partnerships

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE