Daniela Gaona didn’t know how she would pay to fulfill her dream of pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling until just a few days before classes started last week.
That’s when Johns Hopkins University stepped in with emergency aid after a summer of lobbying by the 22-year-old Gaona.
Gaona is one of 800,000 young people known as “dreamers,” brought to the United States illegally as children or infants but allowed to stay under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Gaby Pacheco, program director for The Dream.US, which provides scholarships to DACA students, said she hears stories like Gaona’s all the time. The students struggle to pay for community college, but a four-year degree and graduate school can be out of reach.
Pacheco has pushed for businesses, states and universities to help ease the burden on these students by offering financial assistance in some form. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, is a donor to The Dream.US.)
“There is a lot more these institutions can do, especially because the majority of the institutions have millions and billions of dollars in their endowments,” Pacheco said.
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