Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) this week voted in favor of legislation he cosponsored to create a New York State DREAM Fund. The fund will make 529 College Savings Plan accounts and private scholarships available to anyone who provides a valid taxpayer identification number.
“There are a number of serious immigration issues that need to be addressed on the federal level over the next few years,” Castelli said. “However, until Washington can get its act together, I believe it is in New York State’s best interest to provide taxpaying citizens with greater access to an affordable college education.”
Castelli noted the purpose of the legislation, Assembly Bill A8689B, is to advance the educational opportunities of children of immigrants through the establishment of family tuition accounts and privately-funded scholarship programs that provide assistance with the costs of higher education, and make them available to those who provide a valid taxpayer identification number.
“I commend Assemblyman Castelli for cosponsoring this legislation which will no doubt help a lot of very deserving people in their quest to gain the American Dream,” said Larry Delgado, President of El Centro Hispano, Inc. of White Plains.
The bill that was passed also creates a DREAM fund commission to raise money for the DREAM fund to provide the scholarships to college-bound students who are the children of immigrants. “By making college more affordable and accessible to more New Yorkers, we will help strengthen the state’s workforce, ensure a higher quality of life for first and second generation immigrants and reduce the need for public assistance,” said Castelli, a former college professor.
The commission is required to establish the criteria for the scholarships, create and publicize a training program for education professionals, and develop a public awareness campaign for the DREAM fund awards.
“This fund is going to help hardworking, taxpaying New Yorkers achieve the American Dream, and I am proud to have played a role in passing this important legislation,” Castelli said. “I salute the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Francisco Moya, and look forward to its passage in the State Senate before the end this legislative session.”
Castelli also noted that this bill is different than the Federal DREAM act, which has been the subject of some controversy in the recent past.