Our Latest Achievements

We dared to DREAM, and it’s now a reality. 

The LEAD Coalition, powered by the Hispanic Federation, has advocated to make the DREAM Act a reality in New York State. 

In January 2019, The Senate Majority Conference passed the José Peralta New York State DREAM Act.  As a result, undocumented students across the state will now have access to state financial aid, allowing them to make their higher education dreams a reality.


  • Create a DREAM fund commission and a DREAM fund in order to advance the educational opportunities of the children of immigrants by providing scholarships to college bound students.

  • Eliminate potential financial obstacles to obtaining State financial aid and extends the opportunities for undocumented students to attend higher education institutions.

  • Eliminate barriers for immigrant aliens to save for their families higher education expenses by allowing such individuals to open a New York State 529 family tuition account under the New York State College Tuition Savings Program and/or be a designated beneficiary on an account if they have a taxpayer identification number.


  • More than the 4,500 undocumented students that graduate from New York high schools each year will now be able to access state financial aid to help cover the cost of college at public state institutions of higher education.


2018 Policy Priority Achievements

In 2018, the LEAD Coalition advocated for a number of P-12 and Higher Education Priorities. And as a result of our advocacy and that from other policy advocacy organizations and allies, the following priorities were included in the final budget.

Supporting College Success: Restoration of $23.8 million in Opportunity Program Funding

Opportunity Program Funding has  been proven to increase retention and graduation rates, especially for first-generation college bound students. Studies have shown that these students may need additional academic and financial supports to graduate college. New York State Opportunity Programs to help support these students as they matriculate through college. These programs include the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Liberty Partnerships, Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP), and Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). Opportunity programs at the community college level include the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) and College Discovery programs.

The LEAD Coalition advocated for the restoration of these funds from the start of the Legislative Session and was happy to see the full restoration of these funds to help increase the college success rates.

Addressing the Shortage of Certified Bilingual Teachers: $770,000 to Sustain the Clinically Rich Intensive Teacher Institute

There is a shortage of certified bilingual education teachers in New York State. The Clinically Rich Intensive Teacher Institute helps address this shortage by helping cover the cost of certification coursework so that more education professionals can receive certification in English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and/or to complete the requirements for the Bilingual Extension (BE). Last year, the coalition advocated for $770,000 to sustain this institute and increase the supply of highly qualified and certified teachers to serve multilingual learners across the state. 

Serving the Child as a Whole: Allocating $50 million to Expand Community Schools and Renew $150 million in Existing Funding

Community schools work to address the child as a whole, providing wraparound services that ultimately impact student  performance. Over the past few years, the community school movement has gained momentum, especially in schools with high needs student populations. The funds need to be sustained in order to see the long-term benefits and attain measurable, concrete outcomes. The $50 million in new funding allowed for the expansion of this program.

The LEAD Coalition successfully advocated for the allocation of $50 million to expand community schools, for a total $200 million dedicated to supporting community schools. This increased funding is targeted to districts with struggling schools and/or districts experiencing significant growth in homeless pupils or English language learners.


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