There's plenty of boo hooey as well. Some illegal alien students complain that they have to take public transportation to classes. Others are so distraught by their employment situation that they are attending graduate school. [Well-educated and undocumented, By By Jessica Terrell, Orange County Register, December 8, 2008]
Maria is one of thousands of students in Orange County who have been able to attend college through AB 540, a California law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, rather than the higher fee charged to non-California residents. [...]If it's really true that "There are no statewide numbers on how many undocumented students receive help," that fact indicates a serious problem of Sacramento's lack of oversight, particularly given California's $11.2 billion budget deficit. Assembly Member Chuck Devore put the price tag at $117 million annually on the tuition scheme when he proposed legislation to end it last January, so there must be some estimates of numbers at least.
Undocumented students are ineligible for state or federal financial aid, but do get help under a policy that allows them to pay the same fees as California residents. For example, non-California residents pay an additional $20,608 a year at the University of California; up to $10,170 at the California State University: and up to $170 per unit at community colleges.
Since AB 540 was enacted in 2001, a growing number of undocumented students in California have been able to pursue college degrees. There are no statewide numbers on how many undocumented students receive help through the program or how much they receive.
While the bill has opened doors to some undocumented students, it has also created a big debate about the legality and merit of subsidizing education for illegal immigrants. And for students like Maria, who would not otherwise have been able to afford higher education, AB 540 has created a huge unanswered question: What happens after graduation?
Every year an estimated 50,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools. About five percent of those students continue on to college, according to Roberto Gonzales, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Washington, who conducted several studies about undocumented students in Southern California.
Far from sniffly news articles about suffering student foreigners on the bus, the case brought by pro-sovereignty attorney Kris Kobach is moving forward in the courts after a successful round in September, where the California Court of Appeals found AB 540 to be in violation of federal law.