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Recent TheDream.US Graduate: “Keeping In-State Tuition for Dreamers Like Me Strengthens Texas Today and In Future.”

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2023
Contact: Michael Earls at [email protected]

Washington, DC – TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college scholarship provider for Dreamers and has awarded more than 1,870 scholarships for Texas Dreamers to attend one of our in-state partner colleges. More than 400 Texas TheDream.US Scholars are now college graduates, putting their degrees to work to strengthen the state and country. 

Among TheDream.US Texas graduates, 25% are now working in education, including as teachers, while 23% are in business and entrepreneurship positions; 17% are working in science, math, and tech occupations; and 14% in health and medicine – all essential fields for Texas’s future. Since its passage in 2001, the Texas Dream Act has been a driving force behind these opportunities and successes. Learn more about the Texas Dream Act and its importance in strengthening the Texas workforce and economy at this fact sheet here.

The following is a first-person essay submitted by “Isabella,” a TheDream.US alumnus and recent graduate of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with a bachelor’s degree in nursing: 

“Keeping In-State Tuition for Dreamers Like Me Strengthens Texas Today and In Future.” 

“Like many other Dreamers, I don’t remember much or anything about the country of my birth. My parents migrated North when I was 4 years old, and all that I’ve known is the United States of America – specifically, Texas. I love this state’s diversity, its emphasis on family and hard work, and how proud everyone is about where they are from.

Some of my fondest memories growing up here come from watching the great Spurs vs. Heat rivalry in local restaurants and cheering on my local team. While those memories may be shared by many Texans, my status as a Dreamer has meant that I’ve encountered other things that my U.S. citizen classmates can’t relate to. This includes worries about whether I’d be able to stay and study and succeed after high school. Rather than develop a chip on my shoulder or a sense of resentment, I believe in the importance of opportunities for Dreamers and other immigrant Texans and showing why more of these opportunities is a good thing for our state.

Because of the Texas Dream Act, I qualified for in-state tuition at state universities and was able to pursue my dreams of higher education. I recently graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with a bachelor’s in nursing. Without the Texas Dream Act, I wouldn’t have been able to afford college or be ready to put my degree into practice to help the larger community.

While I was fortunate enough to go to school under the Texas Dream Act, some voices in our state are calling to end in-state tuition for Texas immigrant youth who graduate from state high schools. Moving forward on this will jeopardize Dreamers’ lives and futures while harming our state’s health and economy.

My hometown of McAllen carries some of the highest levels of obesity in the United States of America and desperately needs more health professionals. The pandemic revealed the dire conditions some of our medical institutions are in, including demonstrating the continued need for qualified and committed workers. My nursing background will allow me to make a difference immediately.

Dreamers like me genuinely want to work and contribute to our shared economy. In addition to my responsibilities as a student and my future career as a nurse, I’m also a small business owner in McCallen. My boyfriend and I work side by side and hope to grow our business into a long-term success. It’s hard to think of something that represents the American Dream more than that.

As I reflect on my recent graduation from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the opportunities that have been made available to me as a Dreamer through the Texas Dream Act. This legislation allowed me to pursue my dreams of higher education by qualifying me for in-state tuition at state universities. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to afford college or be prepared to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Let’s keep the Texas in-state tuition law on the books, and let’s ensure that Dreamers have a path to citizenship that will allow them to continue contributing to our state. Without it, thousands of young Texans who have grown up here will be denied the chance to go to college or put their degrees to work to make Texas healthier and stronger – now and in the future.

“Isabella” is a recent graduate of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. A proud Dreamer and TheDream.US scholar, she came to the United States with her parents when she was 4 years old.

About TheDream.US

TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college and career success program for undocumented immigrant students, having provided more than 10,000 college scholarships to Dreamers attending over 80 partner colleges in 21 states and Washington, DC. We believe everyone, regardless of where they were born, should have equitable access to a college education, a meaningful career, and opportunities to contribute to the communities they call home. For more information on TheDream.US, visit www.thedream.us