Opinion: Spreading financial aid a bit thinner


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Sen. Gil Cedillo is no quitter. For years, the Los Angeles Democrat has been bringing forward bills to given driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Sadly for him (and for basic safety on the streets). Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger keeps coming up with inventive new reasons not to like the idea.

Now Cedillo has another politically unpopular idea he’s planning to go the distance on — financial aid for illegal immigrants. The first version of the bill would have made it harder for students here legally to get financial aid, since there already are limited amounts to go around. A second version of the bill was better, using new funding, but nevertheless failed.


This year, Cedillo recognizes there is no way to add state funding for financial aid. Probably such aid will be cut. So his newest bill would direct the state’s colleges (and ask UC) to consider illegal-immigrant students as qualified for their own reserves of aid, some private, some public.

The problem is, we’re dealing with an even smaller pot of money during an unhappy economic period, when many families throughout the state will need more aid.

Still, there’s a rationale behind Cedillo’s idea. This state accepts illegal immigrants who live in Califorina to its public universities and colleges, as state residents (in other words, they don’t have to pay out-of-state tuition). These students are regarded as no different from other students, and their very attendance at these schools is, in fact, a form of financial aid, since state subsidies keep the fees at these schools extraordinarily low. Why, then, should these students somehow become ‘other than’ when it comes to additional financial aid?