The New Jersey State Senate has approved the DREAM Act bill, which includes affordable in-state tuition and financial assistance. Assemblyman Gordon Johnson told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that members of the Assembly plan to make changes to their version of the bill to make it similar to the Senate’s version.
“A simple in-state tuition bill, the State Senate then added a piece where they get the financial assistance, financial aid, the TAG grants, as part of this bill. I think in this process here that we will probably amend our bill to mirror the Senate version of the bill,” Johnson said.
Gov. Chris Christie has said that he is not comfortable with some portions of the Senate bill. Johnson says that it’s all up to the governor and that he believes that the DREAM Act is an opportunity for young people to have an opportunity to have a higher education. He also mentions that they should have an opportunity to apply for TAG grants and other financial assistance.
Johnson said he is in conversations to see how the funding for the TAG grants can be increased as more people will have the opportunity to apply for them.
If the DREAM Act does get approved along with the financial assistance for the dreamers, Johnson says that he doesn’t believe that people will begin to move to New Jersey in order to afford the in-state tuition rate. In order for the dreamers to qualify for the in-state tuition, they would have to attend a high school within the state for at least three years. As for the financial assistance, they would have to be New Jersey residents and attend a New Jersey high school for at least three years.
Johnson believes that at some point in time the DREAM Act will pass.
“Trenton is about compromise. That’s what we do down there,” said Johnson. “We’ll haggle, debate, we’ll argue, but at some point in time it’s about these young people to ensure that they have access to higher education. So yes, we have a lot of time to get this thing done and I plan to ensure that the young people who are trying to get an education benefit from this debate and argument and discussion.”