OLD WESTBURY - Hundreds of immigrant students gathered for a seminar Tuesday to help them gain the skills they'll need to reach and succeed in college.
Erika Andriola is part of the Dream Action Coalition and was a keynote speaker at the conference held at SUNY Old Westbury. She says she is trying to educate other students who may be struggling with college plans amid their lack of a legal status.
"You can't really ask for a loan. I want to go to law school, but even that, I can't get a loan," Andriola says. "If I want to get in debt, they won't let me. It's still a struggle for a lot of students."
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Many students at the conference say that they're concerned about getting a college education because their lack of legal status might keep them from receiving financial aid or scholarships.
The New York Dream Act is a bill that would change that.
The New York Senate rejected the New York Dream Act last year. Advocates say that support is crucial from Long Island lawmakers, and that they're hoping the state Senate revisits the bill when the session starts in January.
There are five states that currently allow state financial aid for undocumented students at city or state colleges.
In New York, undocumented immigrants do not have access to state financial aid.
During his State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would seek $27 million in funding to support the Dream Act.