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'Real Hope' Act Passes Washington Senate

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files
File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building

Undocumented Washington high school graduates may be one step closer to accessing financial aid.

On Friday, the Senate passed a measure to make State Need Grants available to students who came to this country illegally with their parents.

Last year the Democratically controlled Washington House passed the so-called Dream Act. But it died in the mostly Republican-controlled Senate.

Then on the opening day of the Washington Legislature this year, the House re-passed the bill. Now, the Senate has approved its own version -- the “Real Hope” Act.

In addition to expanding eligibility for the State Need Grant, it would boost funding for the program by $5 million.

Republican Senator Curtis King spoke in favor of the bill, but noted the program lacks enough money to serve all eligible students.

“It’s not going to solve the problem of how these young people are going to find funding to go to college," he said. "It may help a few of them, but it’s not going to help all of them.”

Last year, 106,000 students qualified for the State Need Grant, but there was only enough funding for 74,000 of them. The $5 million in this bill would fund another 1,100 grants.