New York State financial aid is about to be extended to students brought into the country illegally as children.

Bill To Legalize Gay Marriage Debated In New York State Senate
Matthew Cavanaugh

The State Senate and Assembly on January 23 passed the so-called "Dream Act."  Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he intends to sign the measure.

The program is expected to cost $27 million.

Republican Senator Fred Akshar of Binghamton issued a statement saying he voted against the measure.  Akshar had said in the past he opposed the Dream Act but put the questions before the constituents in a survey on his website.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Akshar says within the 52nd Senate District, 85% of respondents opposed the proposal and 14% supported it.  People outside the Senator's district responding to the survey also overwhelmingly opposed the plan: 93%-5% (1% undecided).

The bill had been blocked by Senate Republicans for years but gained new momentum when Democrats took control of the chamber in the fall.

Democrats said it was wrong to deny educational opportunities to children in New York because of where they were born.  Republicans said it was unfair to taxpayers.

In his statement, Senator Akshar said, "Many respondents noted they are struggling to afford college tuition for their own children or to pay off their own student debt.  Akshar says he thinks resources should be going first toward aiding those families.

(Associated Press contributed to this story.)

More From WNBF News Radio 1290 AM & 92.1 FM