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The DREAMers Scholarship

Animated Gif by Valerie Victor. Original Photo Cred: The Dream.US
Animated Gif by Valerie Victor. Original Photo Cred: The Dream.US

By Levar Alonzo

The third national round for the scholarship for DREAMers has opened up on Sept. 14 and will close on Feb. 15, 2016.  

The scholarship is the first college scholarship funded program created for undocumented immigrant youth – known as DREAMers – where awards up to $25,000 for tuition and fees are distributed to high school graduates, first-time college students or community college graduates seeking to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

The scholarship assists undocumented students that aren’t eligible to receive federal or state aid. Many undocumented students are talented and share the same passion and goals as other students, but are disadvantaged because of finances.

“Finally, someone believes in me,” said Tatiana Borda, York College scholarship winner and current Queens College student. “I have not been forgotten and my voice has been heard, The Dream.US Scholarship gave me more than financial stability; they gave me hope in this country and myself.”

York College has had nine winners of this scholarship.  

“I’m happy that a scholarship of this sort has come along, DREAMers are regular students looking for an opportunity like any regular student,” said said Randolph Punter, Interim Assistant Dean for Student Development at York College and DREAMer student’s coordinator. “The scholarship really takes the student minds off money and they settle into the college fabric.”

All CUNY Dream.US scholars receive more than funding for their tuition. There is also a stipend attached to the scholarship just for books. The scholarship winners will belong to a special community within the University, receive consistent support from designated advisors, and participate in community-building activities with other scholars. Community college scholars, in most cases, will enroll in CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Program or ASAP.  

More than 200 CUNY students have been awarded scholarships valued at more than $5 million from the Dream.US; the largest amount received by any university in the United States.  

“We are deeply grateful to TheDream.US for helping CUNY students fulfill their dreams of obtaining a college education,” said CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken in the CUNY newswire release.  

TheDream.US is the nation’s largest scholarship program for undocumented immigrant youth, it provides aid to the more than 200 students at CUNY colleges in the five boroughs, nearly half of the $10 million in aid the foundation awarded nationally to over 500 students.  

The scholarship comes about from the backing of wealthy donors. Last fall, the Robin Hood Foundation provided $1.5 million to TheDream.US to fund 100 scholarships for community college students at CUNY in 2015.  Earlier this year, The Pershing Square Foundation made a $10 million contribution to TheDream.US to help fund 400 scholarships over three years.

CUNY and started their partnership in 2013 with 30 winners to attend community colleges.  Last year Chancellor Milliken extended the scholarship opportunity to the 12 senior colleges and 5 more community colleges. The stats show that 41 percent of the 1700 applicants were students looking to apply the money to a CUNY program.  

In addition to qualify, students must have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status or may also qualify under Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. Once a winner students have to maintain a 3.0 grade point average and be a full time student.  

“These scholarship awards are an investment in our nation’s future,” said Milliken.

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