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Over 200 Bay Area DREAMers Head to College on TheDream.US Scholarships with Support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative


Gaby Pacheco | [email protected] | 202-445-7376

TheDream.US[1], the nation’s largest college access and success scholarship program for DREAMers, today announced it has awarded 139 new four-year scholarships worth $3.4M to help undocumented immigrant students in the Bay Area attend college this fall.  Over 200 undocumented Bay Area students have received scholarships since 2015.  These scholarships were made possible by support through  the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, together with support from matching donors.

DREAMers are young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States  at a young age. Although these DREAMers have grown up in the United States and call this country their home, they have no access to federal assistance to pay for college.

“Ensuring that every deserving student has access to a quality education is neither a political nor partisan issue; it is essential to our mission. And it cuts to the heart of who we are, what we stand for and what we value here at San Jose State University. We would like to congratulate the 41 new Spartans who are recipients of TheDream.US scholarships. This generous support for our dreamers will help them reach their potential, and in the process, change our world,” said Dr. Mary A. Papazian, President, San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.

TheDream.US has formed a Bay Area Coalition of colleges and universities that are committed to addressing the barriers and challenges Bay Area DREAMers face in getting into and through college.  This coalition currently includes San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, CSU East Bay, Sonoma State University, UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, Evergreen Community College, and DeAnza Community College. Through the grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and matching donors, the Coalition will help 400 young undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area attend these colleges by 2020.

“TheDream.US is helping to even the playing field for promising students to reach their potential,” said Jim Shelton, President, Chan Zuckerberg Education. “DREAMers face unique challenges in getting to college, lacking federal financial aid options and facing a range of other barriers largely dependent on the state. TheDream.US has proven to make an impact, with scholars progressing through college at extraordinarily high rates. Programs like this can help these students open a door to higher education even as other options are foreclosed to them.”

The scholarships come at an uncertain time for the nearly 800,000 DREAMers who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“While we were concerned that the fear and uncertainty would negatively impact the number of DREAMers applying for scholarships this year, we instead saw a record number of qualified applicants,” added Candy Marshall, President of TheDream.US. The Bay Area scholarships being announced today were made possible by a $5M grant awarded in 2015 by Startup:Education, an organization whose programs are now administered through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and by matching donations. The Bay Area matching donations were made by former Washington Post Chairman Don Graham and investigative journalist Amanda Bennett, co-founders of TheDream.US.  Others supporters of TheDream.US nationally include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pershing Square Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bill and Steve Graham and the Omidyar Network.

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About TheDream.US

Co-founded by former Washington Post chairman Donald Graham; finance chief of the Democratic National Committee, Henry R. Muñoz III; former Secretary of Commerce for President George W. Bush, Carlos Gutierrez; and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Amanda Bennett, TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for DREAMers. Its goal is to enable over 4,000 highly motivated DREAMers to graduate with career-ready degrees over the course of the next decade.

[1] TheDream.US is a project of New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3), which executes a range of public interest projects focused on conservation, education, and global health.