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New donors and partners join; broad support raises over $7 million in three months; scholarship fund reaches $32 million
LOS ANGELES, June 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the historic launch of TheDream.US on February 4, 2014, the first national scholarship program for Dreamers, the inaugural class of scholars has been selected. During the application period, nearly 1,000 applications were received and evaluated by Scholarship America and an independent Selection Committee using an objective scoring process. The Selection Committee is composed of evaluators from the DREAMer community and the education sector. Based on the scoring, 264 DREAMers have accepted the scholarship.
Founded by Graham Holdings Company CEO Donald E. Graham, Democratic activist and philanthropist Henry R. Munoz III, and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, TheDream.US is a national scholarship fund committed to provide a low-cost, high-quality education to undocumented students.
"The Dream.US scholarship is making my and my parent's lifelong dream of attending college a reality. In the future, I hope to be able to pay this gift forward, by working with other Dreamers and low-income students achieve their dream of higher education." Rosamia Valdez, a drummer from Palo Alto, CA, was born in Peru. She is graduating from East Palo Alto Academy with a 3.81 GPA. Rosamia is one of the 264 students that represent 28 countries, and 18 states. Although the scholarship requires students to have a 2.5 GPA or higher, the DREAM Scholars' average GPA was an impressive 3.55.
"We, as a nation, have an opportunity to leverage the investment we have already made in these young, highly motivated men and women by offering a Scholarship Fund that will support them in joining our next generation of talented health care providers, educators, accountants, scientists, software developers and social workers. They are part of our country's future," said TheDream.US president Candy Marshall.
TheDream.US founders, partners and donors are determined to help talented students pursue their educational goals. TheDream.US launched with an initial $25 million scholarship fund from philanthropic and business leaders across the country, including the Graham family and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Joining this effort are The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation, The PepsiCo Foundation, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, through Startup:Education, and through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation we received gifts from Pierre and Pam Omidyar as well as a generous anonymous donor. In addition to these philanthropic gifts, over 200 individuals have donated over $30,000.
To be eligible for a scholarship from TheDream.US, DREAMers must qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA); must have graduated from a U.S.-based high school with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher (or achieved a GED diploma with an equivalent score); and must demonstrate financial need. Scholars are selected based on their academic potential and demonstrated motivation to succeed
TheDream.US scholarships help cover a student's cost of tuition, fees and books, and range in size, depending upon the demonstrated financial need and tuition cost, up to $25,000 per student. DREAMer scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA, remain enrolled in a Partner College and maintain their DACA status in order to continue to be eligible to receive the scholarship.
In order to ensure that DREAMer scholars have the support they need to succeed in school, students who receive scholarships must attend a partner institution of TheDream.US. Twelve colleges have signed on as partners, pledging to support the mission of TheDream.US and the aspirations of DREAMer scholars. TheDream.US has also created partnerships with organizations that focus on ensuring the success of our students, including our new partner, College Track, which recruits students from underserved communities and works continuously with them for ten years--from the summer before 9th grade through college--to achieve their dream of a college degree.
"Helping people pay for college helps our entire economy. Together, we are ensuring dreamers are equipped with the tools they need to get through the red tape and fully participate in the American dream," added Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti.
TheDream.US is led by Candy Marshall, who was a director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she helped build the foundation's global programs, and Gaby Pacheco, a DREAMer-and a DREAMer advocate-who was part of the 2010 march, the Trail of Dreams, from Miami to Washington DC, an event that helped launch the DREAMer movement nationwide.
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