UTEP Partners in New National Effort to Help “DREAMers” Obtain Career-Ready College Education

UTEP Partners in New National Effort to Help “DREAMers” Obtain Career-Ready College Education
MGN Online
The School Yard
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 1:50pm

During the next decade, The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College will participate in a new national movement to help immigrant students graduate with career-ready degrees.

TheDream.US will provide college scholarships and create a community of support for 2,000 highly motivated, low-income DREAMers.

The scholarship targets college-ready undocumented students who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), but are not eligible to apply for federal financial aid to support a college education as a result of their status.

In order to ensure that DREAMer-scholars have the support they need to succeed in school, individuals who win scholarships must attend a partner institution of TheDream.US. The 12 institutions of higher learning that have signed on as partners, pledging to support the mission of the organization and the aspirations of DREAMer-scholars, are: UTEP, El Paso Community College, South Texas College, and The University of Texas Pan American in Texas; 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; Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach in California; and Mount Washington College, a national online college.

“UTEP is pleased to have been selected to participate in this program that will positively impact so many students in the Paso del Norte region,” said Donna E. Ekal, Ph.D., associate provost for undergraduate studies. “We look forward to adding this to the many areas with which we work with our partners at El Paso Community College to increase access to higher education for the students of our region.”

TheDream.US is more than a scholarship program. It focuses on college completion and building a community of DREAMer-scholars who are committed to helping others achieve the American Dream.

Instead of waiting for the political process on immigration reform to play out as the futures of young Americans hang in the balance, TheDream.US founders are building a fund that will allow these highly motivated students to get a college education so that they, too, can contribute to the prosperity of this nation.

Graham Holdings Company CEO Donald E. Graham, Democratic activist and philanthropist Henry R. Muñoz III and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, all TheDream.US co-founders, made the announcement today in Washington, D.C.

“The DREAMers I know are very highly motivated; they want an education, and many want the chance to be of service to others,” Graham said. “But they often face countless roadblocks to college achievement. With support from our partner institutions and from civic leaders across the country, TheDream.US is building a new movement to remove these roadblocks and make higher education a reality for thousands of undocumented immigrants. We’re making a down payment on our country’s future by helping these young Americans achieve the American Dream.”

To date, the co-founders have raised more than $25 million for TheDREAM.US from philanthropic and business leaders from across the country, including the Graham family and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The co-founders announced that 39 scholars have already received TheDream.US scholarships, disbursed in December 2013. This initial class of scholars has an average GPA of 3.5, an average age of 21 and comes from 13 different countries. This initial class will help build a national community of DREAMer-scholars who will provide peer-to-peer support to each other and to future scholars.

To be eligible for a scholarship from TheDream.US, applicants must meet DACA eligibility criteria; have graduated from a U.S.-based 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); demonstrate financial need; and show a strong motivation to succeed in a career-ready associate or bachelor’s degree program.

Scholarships will cover up to 100 percent of a student’s total cost of tuition, fees and books and will range in size, depending upon the demonstrated financial need and tuition costs. DREAMer-scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA, remain continuously enrolled and remain DACA eligible. Scholars are also eligible for an additional $1,000-$2,000 honors award if they graduate with a GPA of 3.5 or greater.

A partial list of endorsers of TheDream.US’s mission is available at www.TheDream.US.

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