Passage of the Maryland DREAM Act

Maryland’s Dream Act (SB176/HB470) was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley in 2011. It was petitioned to referendum and on November 6, 2012, the voters of Maryland upheld the implementation of the law. Throughout the state, UUs spoke out in favor of this law, and UULM-MD supported the Act during the referendum challenge. 

By joining with other faith and secular groups, Maryland UUs helped bring about the historic vote that enabled our state to become the first to pass a version of the DREAM Act by popular vote. We were active, vocal and spoke out for fairness by supporting a law that allows qualified young people to continue their education in order to be better able to reach for their goals and dreams. 

The DREAM Act establishes that individuals, including undocumented immigrants, are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at community colleges in Maryland, provided the student meets certain conditions relating to attendance and graduation from a Maryland high school, filing of income taxes, intent to apply for permanent residency, and registration with the selective service system (if required). The law benefits undocumented immigrants, and those who are awaiting some form of immigration relief, such as asylum applicants, as well as military families living in Maryland and veterans who register within four years of discharge. 

Students must provide that they or their guardian/family have paid state income taxes for at least three years of high school and any intervening years before entering college. They also must provide that they or their guardian/family are paying income taxes while they are attending college. These students are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at a four-year public college or university if the student has first completed 60 credit hours or graduated from a community college in Maryland. 

The DREAM Act also provides that students qualifying for in-state tuition rates by this method will not be counted as in-state students for purposes of counting undergraduate enrollment, thus guaranteeing that these students will not take seats from Maryland residents. They are not eligible to receive any federal or state scholarships or financial assistance.