Fresno State will host two new events to provide more insight into The California Dream Act, Assembly Bill 540 and Dreamers — undocumented residents who are attending college under this state legislation — as part of the University’s Hispanic Heritage Month observance.

This week, the Dream Counselors Conference will be held for high school counselors and educators from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, in North Gym (Room 118).

Next week, a free, public event, “Dreamers and AB540 Workshop and Panel” will be from 5–6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the University Student Union (Room 308).

AB540 created a new exemption from payment of non-resident tuition for certain nonresident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent.

The California Dream Act (Assembly Bills 130 and 131) allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions under AB540 to apply for and receive private scholarships funded through public universities, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers and Cal Grants.

Wednesday, about 180 counselors from Fresno State’s four-county service area are expected for  the Dream Counselors Conference, presented by Fresno State’s new Dream Outreach Center which opened Sept. 1 to serve the 610 undocumented/AB540 students enrolled this semester.

The new center assists undocumented students applying for financial aid, raises awareness about legislation and policies and builds a network of resources to support students completing their degrees, said Raul Z. Moreno, coordinator of the center and conference organizer.

It is among the many dream centers springing up on college campuses in the past year and will be featured in an upcoming segment of the Spanish-language Univision Salud website.

Speakers at the Sept. 23 event will include Fresno State admission officials and representatives from two other valley Dream Resource Centers at Fresno City College and UC Merced. They will discuss the California Dream Act and AB540, the college application process, scholarships and campus and community resources offered to undocumented students.

The Sept. 29 workshop, sponsored by Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), Fresno State’s student government organization, will give students and the general public an opportunity to hear from experts.

It is presented by ASI’s Lobby Corps, a new project designed to educate and engage students regarding the legislative affairs that affect their education by initiating progressive lobbying tactics and promoting communication between both local and state representatives. Each year, the Lobby Corps sends Fresno State students to lobby at the State Capital and to participate in a statewide student leadership conference.

Moreno will be one of the workshop panelists with alumnus Jesus Mendoza who is an undocumented immigrant and founder of Instituto Ynamic, a non-profit organization that assists migrant families with educational, transitional and adaptation needs in the Central Valley; and Walter Ramirez, academic specialist for Classic Upward Bound programs.

“Lobby Corps is a forum for important conversations about student concerns,” said Kaitlyn Sims, ASI vice president of external affairs. “We want students to be informed about issues on our campus so that they can be better student advocates.”

Full schedule of Hispanic Heritage Month events.

For more information about Wednesday’s conference, contact Moreno at 559.278.5750 or For the Sept. 29 workshop, contact Tara Powers-Mead at 559.278.2656.

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