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Press Release: TheDream.US Launch


EMBARGOED until 10:30 a.m., February 4, 2014
Contacts: Gabe Roth, 202-464-6919, [email protected]
Gabriela Meléndez, 202-464-6964, [email protected]

 TheDream.US launches with broad support; more than $25 million raised for scholarships

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Graham Holdings Company CEO Donald E. Graham, Democratic activist and philanthropist Henry R. Muñoz III and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez today announced the formation of a new national movement, TheDream.US. Over the next decade, TheDream.US will provide college scholarships that will enable over 2,000 highly motivated, low-income DREAMers to graduate with career-ready college degrees.

The program targets undocumented immigrant students who, as a result of their status, are not eligible to apply for federal financial aid to support a college education. While immigration reform may eventually address this issue, TheDream.US founders are not content to wait as the futures of these young Americans hang in the balance. Instead, they are building a fund that will allow these highly motivated students to get a college education so that they, too, can contribute to the prosperity of this nation.

TheDream.US co-founder Donald E. Graham said: “The DREAMers I know are very highly motivated; they want an education, and many want the chance to be of service to others. But they often face countless roadblocks to college achievement. With support from our partner institutions and from civic leaders across the country, TheDream.US is building a new movement to remove these roadblocks and make higher education a reality for thousands of undocumented immigrants. We’re making a down payment on our country’s future by helping these young Americans achieve the American Dream.”

TheDream.US co-founder Henry R. Muñoz III said: “I live in a place where every day I am reminded about the importance of the immigrant experience to the future of our country. DREAMERS are our neighbors, our friends and for many of us, they are family. They face extreme obstacles to success, but like so many who have come before them, they possess great promise, if only given a chance to participate in the American Dream. We believe that all DREAMers – regardless of race or national origin – should have the opportunity to obtain a college education and contribute to the prosperity of our nation. By creating a Decade of Opportunity, The Dream.US will be taking a significant step towards building an America where everyone has an equal chance to succeed.”

TheDream.US co-founder Carlos Gutierrez said: “Absent the passage of the DREAM Act or other breakthrough in immigration policy, thousands of eager young people will be unable to achieve their academic dreams. We are not waiting for Washington to solve these challenges. Instead, individuals dedicated to a brighter future for all young Americans have come together to create a national movement that will empower immigrant youth through education, as we believe that college access is vital to DREAMers’ ability contribute to their families, their communities and the future of this nation.”

To date, the founders have raised more than $25 million for TheDream.US from philanthropic and business leaders from across the country, including the Graham family, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Fernandez Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Inter-American Development Bank, Patty Stonesifer, Michael Kinsley and all of the founders and staff of TheDream.US.

To be eligible for a scholarship from TheDream.US, DREAMer applicants must qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), must have graduated from a U.S. high school with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher (or achieved a GED diploma with a score equivalent to 2.5 or higher), must demonstrate financial need, and must show a strong motivation to succeed in a career-ready associate’s or bachelor’s degree program.

In order to ensure that DREAMer Scholars have the support they need to succeed in school, individuals who win scholarships must attend a partner institution of TheDream.US. Today, founders Graham, Muñoz and Gutierrez announced that 12 institutions of higher learning have signed on as partners, pledging to support the mission of the organization and the aspirations of DREAMer-scholars.

These institutions are: the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College and Kingsborough Community College in New York; Miami Dade College in Florida; Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C.; El Paso Community College, South Texas College, University of Texas Pan American and University of Texas El Paso in Texas; Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach in California; and Mount Washington College, a national online college.

The founders announced that 39 scholars have already received TheDream.US scholarships. This initial class of scholars has an average GPA of 3.5, an average age of 21 and comes from 13 different countries. This class will help build a national community of DREAMer-scholars who will provide peer-to-peer support to each other and to future scholars.

Scholarships will cover up to 100% of a student’s total cost of tuition, fees and books. The amount of the awards will vary depending upon the demonstrated financial need and tuition costs of the college. DREAMer Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA, remain continuously enrolled and remain DACA eligible. Scholars are also eligible for an additional $1,000-$2,000 honors award if they graduate with a GPA of 3.5 or greater.

Today’s announcement is the result of a collaboration of DREAMers, business and education leaders and current and former elected officials from across the country who gave their input to the founders about what was needed to provide these highly motivated DREAMers with the same opportunities that are available to other American students.

In June 2013, these advocates met and committed to work together to provide a low-cost, high-quality college education to undocumented students through this new organization. As plans for TheDream.US crystallized this year, its founders engaged with education advocates across the country, who are lending their support today.

Those endorsing the mission of TheDream.US include former U.S. senators Spencer Abraham (Mich.) and Norm Coleman (Minn.); former U.S. Representatives Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.); former governors Jeb Bush (Fla.) and Luis Fortuño (P.R.); as well as Bob Haas, Joel Klein, Eva Longoria, Diego Luna, Luis Alberto Moreno, Rupert Murdoch, Grover Norquist and Michelle Rhee. Additional endorsers are noted at TheDream.US.

TheDream.US is led by Candy Marshall, a nationally recognized business and philanthropic leader, and Gaby Pacheco, a DREAMer and a DREAMer advocate who led the 2010 march of undocumented Americans to Washington that is often credited with launching the DREAMer movement nationwide.