Organizations to Grant $20M to IDEA DACA Student Scholarships

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WESLACO – A $20 million initiative will pay the way for 1,000 IDEA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals student scholarships.

Students brought into the United States illegally, but protected under the DACA policy are at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for financial aid.

DACA students are not eligible for federal student aid. Organizations are working to change the aid difficulty.

All costs for associate and bachelor’s degree programs through Southern New Hampshire University's competency-based education program, College for America, will be paid for, for DACA students in the Rio Grande Valley.

SNHU partnered with the Shapiro Foundation and TheDream.US in the new initiative that will provide for DACA students attending IDEA-U in the Valley over the next five years.

IDEA-U is an online college option created by IDEA Public Schools last year. IDEA-U is partnering with SNHU's College for America, an accredited online institution that provides individualized curricula.

IDEA's Chief College and Diversity Officer Phillip Garza said, “At IDEA-U, we seek to democratize higher education, ensuring more students, including low-income, first-generation, students of color, access the American Dream by first completing their college degree. We are grateful for this opportunity and ready to expand our program quickly so that our Dreamers attain their chance to pursue and achieve their dreams.”

“As an institution of higher education, we are in the business of hope. We have hundreds of thousands of young people who have known no country but the U.S., but that are denied the financial support that gives them access to higher education. As a society, we can’t afford to squander their talent and drive,” said Paul LeBlanc, university president at SNHU. “Among them might be the next brilliant scientist, general, community leader, inventor, or entrepreneur. We must give them the tools to realize their potential.”

TheDream.US, a national organization, has provided more than 3,000 scholarships to students with DACA and TPS at more than 75 partner colleges in 15 states and Washington, D.C.

“Through this partnership with SNHU, we will be able to serve the many Dreamers who do not have the option of attending a traditional on-campus college,” said Don Graham, Co-Founder of TheDream.US. “These Dreamers work, have families, and simply do not have the resources nor flexibility to adjust their lives to a traditional college calendar. And yet, they want nothing more than to get a college education so they can better support themselves, their families and their communities.”

“We hope our political representatives can resolve this matter as quickly as possible,” said LeBlanc. “In the meantime, we are going to focus on the students and getting them access to education that works for them and creates the opportunity to be productive, contributing members of our society.”

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