From middle school dances to family parties in the early 2000’s, there were a few jams that you knew the entire lyrics and dance moves to. If you weren’t burning CD’s, then you for sure had these songs downloaded onto your iPod.
TheDream.US is on a mission to get as many DACA, undocumented and first-generation students to college. The organization first launched in 2014 and has already helped 1,700 students afford the dream of a college education. If you are a DACA-recipient and you need some cash for college, you should totally give TheDream.US a visit.
Since 2014, TheDream.US has been partnering with educational institutions across the country to get more DACA students educated.
There are a total of 77 college success programs, community colleges and universities in TheDream.US’ network of schools in 14 states and Washington, D.C. The institutions have to meet a criteria before the organization reaches out to offer the program with a focus on states and regions with a high population of DACA, undocumented and first-generation students.
“One of the things that we do is we look for colleges that show success and for us success means: that they are graduating students, they are either committed or will be DREAMer serving institutes or institutions,” Gaby Pacheco, an immigrant activist and the Program Director for Scholar Programs and Advocacy, told mitú. “We also look for partner colleges who have a history of serving low-income/first-generation students and we ask all of our partner colleges that, as their commitment, to provide a designated scholar advisor who is going to shepherd and help and support our students.”
Now, it’s important to know that the organization offers two kinds of scholarships: the National and the Opportunity Scholarship.
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“The whole idea is that the students who are [enrolled] can go to a community college, graduate and then go to a university,” Pacheco told mitú. “Or, instead of graduating from a community college, can just go to a university.”
“For the opportunity scholarships, it’s a little bit different and the way the opportunity scholarships work is that we’ve targeted 16 states that either prevent people who have DACA to go to college or ask them to pay the out-of-state tuition, which makes it practically impossible for these students to afford the tuition,” Pacheco told mitú. “So, those students that live in those states can apply for those scholarships.”
The organization started with the help of a man named Don Graham.
“It all started because Don Graham had a scholarship program in DC and he would always hear about students who couldn’t go to college or couldn’t afford it,” Pacheco told mitú. “Being the fighter and being that person, at least here in DC that has been fighting like no other on insuring that people have access to education and higher education, he said, ‘We have to right this wrong.'”
Pacheco also mentioned that the talk of immigration reform becoming a viable policy spurred the organization to get things rolling to help students achieve their dreams.
Pacheco believes in the program because our job society places a higher value on education.
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“I went to college when I was undocumented and when I got DACA I was kind of ahead of the game of a lot of people because I had received an education and I could apply for the kinds of jobs the required bachelor’s degrees,” Pacheco told mitú. “So, it’s just a way to be ahead of the game for many things and, of course, a lot of young people have had those dreams to go to college and their dreams have been deferred because they don’t have access to the funding.”
And many immigration policies have education components.
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“On the immigration front, every piece of legislation that we’ve seen that specifically targets or talks about this population, there’s always an education component,” Pacheco told mitú. “We’re telling people that it’s just a way to get prepared for something that it’s been long-coming but we know, eventually, we’ll get here. With DACA, for example, people are now able to use their education that they have received.”
TheDream.US hopes to leave behind a legacy of educated people and educational institutions that will help similar students in the future.
CREDIT: Washington University in St. Louis / GIPHY
“Our goals are to leave behind over 4,000 graduates who can contribute to the socioeconomic prosperity of not just themselves or their families, but also the communities that they live in. We also want to leave behind institutions that are ready to serve these students and are ready to serve immigrants and can help beyond the students that we graduate as well,” Pacheco told mitú about the organization’s overall goal. “The other thing that we want to do is increase college access for these students. We shouldn’t have to do this, you know, colleges and universities like any other student that comes and live in the community should be providing them with the same tuition as anyone else.”
The application process for these scholarships is currently open and closes early 2017.
CREDIT: Napoleon Dynamite / 20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / GIPHY
The National Scholarship is open until March 8, 2017 and the Opportunity Scholarship closes February 1, 2017. So, if any of these scholarships apply to you, log onto thedream.us and fill out the application. There is so much money waiting for you.