NEW YORK - Dozens of students and immigration reform advocates from across the state started fasting Tuesday night after learning that the New York Dream Act may not be included in this year's budget.

The state Dream Act, which is different from the federal Dream Act, would allow eligible undocumented college students to receive financial aid.

A group protested Wednesday in Manhattan outside the offices of state leaders.

The budget is expected to be finalized by the end of the month. The "Dreamers" say they will fast until then, drinking only water.

Many of them have end-of-semester exams. They say they hope this drastic measure pushes state leaders to include the Dream Act in the budget.

A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo told News 12 that it is the governor's priority to include the Dream Act in the state budget, but that he needs support from Legislature leaders. In previous years, the legislation passed the Democratic-run Assembly, but not the Republican-run Senate.