The American DREAM for Undocumented Undergrads – Video
Araceli Mendez was a New York City high school, when she hit 10th grade she noticed her friends were beginning to think about college and Mendez wanted to become a nurse. Since Mendez came to New York when she was seven years old she did not qualify for federal college loans, work-study, or Pell Grants due to her being an undocumented immigrant. She was accepted to several local city colleges but they could not afford the tuition. Without TheDREAM Araceli Mendez who was in the top 10 percent of her class probably would have never had an opportunity to go to college.
TheDREAM.US, is designed for qualified immigrant students, DREAMers, to receive scholarships for a college education. TheDREAM’s mission statement lays it all out,
“We are the “Pell Grant” for DREAMers. Based on this belief and the need, we have created a fund that provides DREAMers with scholarships for quality, affordable college educations that lead to career-ready degrees. The goal is to enable over 3,500 highly motivated, low-income, DREAMers to graduate with career-ready degrees over the course of the next decade.”
TheDREAM has officially hit California and the first $5 million in student loans are ready to be sent out to undocumented students who qualify. The program had passed legislature in the state of California back in 2014 but the funds were not available until this academic year for qualifying students.
The University of California and all nine UC undergraduate campuses are seeking out undocumented undergraduates who might be eligible for the program. Undocumented students who meet California DREAM ACt and are California high school graduates (or equivalent) have been always able to receive state and university aid but did not meet requirements and were thus disqualified from federal aid and very limited in receiving private loans.
UC President Janet Napolitano said that the new program would reduce that gap as well as help undocumented students in “playing the field” if they are struggling.
To be qualified as a DREAMer you need to be an undocumented undergraduate who has financial need and are enrolled at least half time at a California public four-year university. Currently, The University of California estimates that over 3,000 students will have access to theDREAM. Interest rate for theDREAM is 4.29% for the 2015-2016 academic year. The rate is tied to the federal student loan subsidized interest rate and that interest does not accrue if the student is enrolled at least half-time in school. The loan repayment doesn’t begin until six month after the student graduates.
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