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Earlier this month, a new fund called TheDream.US, was created to help undocumented immigrants, also referred to as DREAMers, obtain a college degree. Donald E. Graham, former Washington Post owner and current CEO of Graham Holdings Company, Democratic activist and philanthropist Henry R. Muñoz III and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez founded the national movement as a way to help young people attend college who do not qualify for federal aid due to their immigration status.
To date, the fund has raised more than $25 million which will enable 1,000 young people to receive $25,000 scholarships over the next academic year to attend a group of pre-approved colleges. The long term goal of The Dream.US fund is to provide college scholarships to more than 2,000 low-income DREAMers to complete college in the next decade.
So far, 12 institutions have partnered with the fund and agreed to provide on-going support to scholars once they have arrived on campus, increasing their likelihood of retention. These institutions are: the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College and Kingsborough Community College in New York; Miami Dade College in Florida; Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C.; El Paso Community College, South Texas College, University of Texas Pan American and University of Texas El Paso in Texas; Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach in California; and Mount Washington College, a national online college.
Funders for the scholarships, include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Fernandez Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Graham family.
To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), must have graduated from a U.S. high school with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher (or achieved a GED diploma with a score equivalent to 2.5 or higher), must demonstrate financial need, and must show a strong motivation to succeed in a career-ready associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. Applicants must also qualify for in state tuition in order to attend the partner college in their state.
To apply, potential scholars need to set up an account online with basic information and write 2 short essays. One, on educational and career goals and the other on a challenging circumstance that they have faced.
Applications are due March 31st, 2014 and scholars will be announced on May 15th, 2014.