Maryland became the first state in the country to pass the Dream Act by popular vote. The state’s version of the DREAM Act allows undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition and receive financial aid.
Maryland lawmakers originally drafted and approved the Dream Act in 2011, but it was challenged by Republicans who petitioned to add the issue to the 2012 ballot. About a dozen other states in the country have passed versions of the Dream Act, but this is the first time voters approved the law.
The law states that, in order to be eligible for in-state tuition rates at community colleges and four-year public universities in Maryland, students must meet certain requirements related to attendance, graduation, family income taxes, and intent to apply for permanent residency.
The measure passed with 52% of the vote, according to NBC News.
Maryland’s Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard praised the passage of the DREAM Act, telling the Washington Post that now students who qualify under the Dream Act “can live without fear. Now they’ll know there is a direct path for them [toward a degree].”
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh also echoed Pollard’s praise in the Washington Post, saying, “The American dream is alive. It can be adapted to every generation and to new circumstances. This will give all these young people living in the shadows hope.”