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New scholarship program unveiled for DREAM students

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Earlier this week business leaders, academics, and philanthropists launched a new program, TheDREAM.US, offering scholarships to undocumented immigrants who meet the criteria for the Obama administration’s deferred action initiative.

The “deferred action” program allows young people whose parents brought them to the United States illegally when they were children, to remain in the country and work without fear of deportation. The deferred action program has set parameters that must be followed to gain its benefits.

The program, which President Obama established in 2012, allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in this country before 16 years old to receive two-year work permits as long as they have graduated from or currently are enrolled in high school, or have served in the military, or have earned a G.E.D, plus have no felony convictions, and have lived in the U.S for at least five years.

Although this program was seen as a positive step for students in the U.S. it is not as broad as it seems. While deferred action allows eligible students to remain in the country, deferred action does not grant legal status and it does not allow students to receive federal financial aid. Consequently students do not quality for in-state tuition rates unless they live in one of the 13 states that give students in-state tuition rates regardless of their immigration status, or unless states begin to accept deferred action status as a substitute for legal residency.

The latest version of the DREAM Act, unveiled this week in TheDream.US, granted an initial 39 scholarships to recipients meeting specific criteria. Students must have financial need and meet academic requirements before and after receiving the grants. Even at its start the new program had a dozen colleges and universities sign on. These institutions are: the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College and Kingsborough Community College; Miami Dade College; Trinity Washington University; El Paso Community College, South Texas College, University of Texas Pan-American and University of Texas El Paso; Long Beach City College and California State University; and Mount Washington College, a national online college. Click here for further information on TheDream US fund.

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