The Illinois Dream Act creates a college scholarship program for all immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status. It is financed by private donations and not by public money. It also allows children of immigrants to get an Illinois driver's certificate and participate in Illinois' two college tuition programs:
You must have a social security number or an ITIN (Individual Tax Payer Identification Number) to participate in these two programs. Undocumented students must obtain an ITIN from the IRS. Please note that under federal law the IRS cannot share your information with DHS (Immigration).
To qualify, you must have:
- At least one parent who immigrated to the United States
- Lived with parents or guardians while attending high school in Illinois
- Attended school in Illinois for at least 3 years before receiving a G.E.D or high school diploma
Note: The Illinois Dream Act will not make eligible students United States citizens or offer a path to citizenship.
Does this law protect me from deportation?
No, the Illinois Dream Act does not protect you from deportation or change your immigration status. It just provides help paying for college and driving in Illinois.
Are driver's certificates the same as driver's licenses?
No, a driver’s license can only be issued to people with legal immigration status and can be used for federal identification purposes.
States can issue driver's certificates to people without legal immigration status. They cannot be used for federal identification purposes.
The Illinois Dream Act and the Federal Dream Act
These 2 are different because:
- The Federal Dream Act allows a student to eventually become a United States citizen;
- The Illinois Dream Act only provides help with paying for college and driving in Illinois.
For details on the Illinois Dream Act visit the following websites:
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), which
provides information on private scholarships for undocumented students and a college guide for undocumented students in Illinois.
Illinois Dream Fund, which provides information on scholarships for undocumented students and the application process.