The California DREAM Act, which allows undocumented immigrants to receive financial aid from tax payer dollars, joined several of the laws that went into effect Jan. 1.
The new law allows undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition charges and the ability to get a mix of private scholarships and financial aid.
Karla Testa is one of those students now eligible for financial aid. The 23-year-old undocumented student took a semester off because she could not afford to pay for classes.
To qualify, undocumented youth have to have been brought to the U.S. without documentation when they were under the age of 16 and meet in-state tuition and GPA requirements. Then they can apply for state-funded financial aid also known as Cal Grants.
With spring semester just a few weeks away, the financial aid office already had a line at San Diego City College.
Testa said she looks forward to receiving some $500 for tuition.
“This is a huge relief," said Testa. "I told my mom it's going to help me so much ‘cause now I don't have to worry about $550 that I don't have where I'm limited to the amount of classes I can take."
But students like Phillip Cookson are dreading the effects the DREAM Act will have on everyone else.
“When it comes down to it hard decisions have to be made in hard times we're facing the financial cliff, you know that was the averted for the meantime and I don't think it's the right thing to do,“ said Cookson, a student at San Diego City College.
Some 20,000 undocumented students are expected to apply, according to officials.