TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for undocumented immigrant youth, recently announced that it has awarded more than 1,200 new scholarships for DREAMers to attend partner colleges and universities during the 2018-19 academic year. TheDream.US believes that all young people, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential, gain an education, and fully participate in the country that they call home. The new scholarships include awards to DREAMers in 25 states to attend partner colleges in 15 states and Washington, DC.
According to Don Graham, Co-Founder of TheDream.US, “Even though Congress has failed to act to resolve DREAMers’ crisis, TheDream.US is not stopping or slowing our commitment to do everything we can to help our Scholars access an education and fulfill their potential. Yet the most powerful commitment continues to be from the DREAMers themselves. Despite the uncertainty of their own lives and futures, DREAMers submitted a record number of applications and remain steadfastly committed to the recognition that no one can take a college education away from them.”
In light of the record number of applications and interest, TheDream.US decided to exceed its planned goal of funding 800 DREAMers’ scholarship starting in Fall 2018. Support for the new round of TheDream.US scholarships includes funding from the $33 million dollar grant to TheDream.US from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, announced in January 2018. The newly-awarded Scholars join almost 3,000 current TheDream.US Scholars and Graduates who have compiled a stellar track record on their campuses at more than 76 partner colleges in 15 states and Washington, DC.
According to Candy Marshall, President of TheDream.US, “Our newest Scholars are among a select group of awardees who demonstrated the academic potential and determination needed to succeed in college and in life. We are proud to help them take the next step towards fulfilling their dreams and potential. Each of their stories offers a powerful example why Congress passing legislation resolving the crisis facing DREAMers will be good for our country.”
According to James B. Milliken, Chancellor of The City University of New York, “American educational institutions may have never had a greater opportunity to help shape the country’s future than they do today. We have always been a nation of immigrants, and at a time when education has never been more critical to social and economic mobility, it is our obligation to provide access at the broadest possible scale to those who would benefit most: the traditionally underrepresented and low-income students and certainly the large numbers of talented, ambitious new Americans, regardless of immigration status. I am enormously gratified that The City University of New York has been a national leader in this effort, made possible in large part through our tremendously successful partnership with TheDream.US. Together we have made it possible for over 750 Dreamers to attend CUNY and pursue their dreams, from which all New Yorkers and Americans benefit greatly.”
Volunteer members of TheDream.US scholarship selection committee, who read applicants’ essays, reflected on their experiences and the potential of the applicants. According to selection committee member Leonor McCall-Rodriguez, FACHE, MHA, MBA and VP, Cogestalt Group, LLC, “The essays I read and scored were like a quilt of hope and strength, life stories assembled with the thread of resilience. It was a powerful experience and a reminder that Dreamers are children of America. I was honored to read their personal journeys and moved by their determination and courage as our society struggles to recognize their contribution and potential. God bless you all.”
Among the DREAMers awarded a scholarship for next fall is Mariana Vargas Ambrosio of Elmhurst, NY, who said: “Receiving this scholarship means the absolute world to my family and me, since it serves as proof for the hard work and dedication that was put into my education in order to make my dream of going to college a reality.”
TheDream.US Scholars have thrived academically on their campuses, with National Scholars averaging a 3.2 GPA compared to the 3.15 average GPA students achieve at public and private colleges across the country, while demonstrating amazing persistence, with 93% of Scholars returning to their schools after their first year, compared to the 72% average rate of return after first year for students at all U.S. colleges and universities.