The Illinois Dream Act creates a college scholarship program for immigrant students. It also allows children of immigrants to get an Illinois driver's certificate. All immigrant students are eligible, regardless of their immigration status. The program is financed by private donations, not public money.
Through the Act, students can participate in Illinois' two college tuition programs:
To participate, a student must have a social security number or an ITIN (Individual Tax Payer Identification Number). Undocumented students must obtain an ITIN from the IRS. Please note that under federal law, the IRS cannot share your information with the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration).
To qualify, a student must also have:
- At least one parent who immigrated to the US;
- Lived with parents or guardians while attending high school in Illinois; and
- 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 students US citizens. It also does not offer a path to citizenship.
Does this law protect me from deportation?
No. The Illinois Dream Act does not protect you from deportation. It also does not change your immigration status. It just helps pay for college and obtain driving privileges.
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.
States can issue driver's certificates to people without legal immigration status.
It is important to note that only a driver's license can be used for federal identification purposes. A driver's certificate cannot be used for these purposes.
The Illinois Dream Act and the Federal Dream Act
These 2 Acts are different because:
- The Federal Dream Act allows a student to eventually become a US citizen;
- The Illinois Dream Act only helps pay for college and obtain driving privileges.
For details on the Illinois Dream Act, visit the following websites:
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), which provides information about private scholarships for undocumented students. The website also provides a college guide for undocumented students in Illinois.
Illinois Dream Fund, which provides information about scholarships for undocumented students. You can also learn more about the application process.