1,000 Dreamers will get a chance at college thanks to $33 million grant

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

A scholarship fund that has already helped nearly 3,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients across 15 states go to college will soon get the chance to help another 1,000 achieve their higher education goals, thanks to a multimillion dollar grant:

TheDream.US, the nation’s largest scholarship program for Dreamers, announced today a $33 million dollar scholarship grant from Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos. The grant, the largest in the organization’s history, will give 1,000 undocumented immigrant graduates of US high schools with DACA status the opportunity to go to college.

Despite being taxpayers, DACA recipients are ineligible for federal financial aid (though some states do allow them to apply for assistance). Following Donald Trump announcing the end of DACA and the GOP-led Congress yet to pass the DREAM Act, 800,000 young people are at risk of losing their work permits and protection from deportation, with 15,000 already out of status. For 1,000 aspiring Americans, this will be one less worry during worrisome times:

Our students are highly motivated and determined to succeed in college and in life. We’re a three-and-a-half-year-old program, so we don’t yet have graduation rates,” said Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US. “But our scholars are thriving academically. 94% return to their college after the first year; the national average is 72%. We expect a 75% graduation rate. This is extraordinary—extraordinary for any students; extraordinary for the colleges they attend; and extraordinary for students from low-income families in particular.”

“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan,” said Bezos, who is the founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post. “He landed in this country alone and unable to speak English. With a lot of grit and determination—and the help of some remarkable organizations in Delaware—my dad became an outstanding citizen, and he continues to give back to the country that he feels blessed him in so many ways. MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today’s Dreamers by funding these scholarships.”

“It was one of the happiest moments of my life,” Estefany Garcia, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Texas at El Paso, said about winning a TheDream.US scholarship. “My hope is to put my degree to good use.”