A privately funded scholarship program announced Tuesday that it will help 500 immigrant students who face significant obstacles to public higher education in their home states attend public universities in Delaware and Connecticut.
TheDream.US, which aims to help youths who came to the United States without documentation, said it is teaming with Delaware State and Eastern Connecticut State universities to provide education for the students who otherwise might find their path to a bachelor’s degree blocked. The targeted students live in states where their immigrant status forces them to pay out-of-state tuition or bars them entirely from enrolling public colleges.
The intended beneficiaries are students temporarily shielded from deportation through an Obama administration program launched in 2012 called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
“Education is an American value; we should help every student who has worked hard,” Donald E. Graham, a Washington businessman and co-founder of TheDream.US, said in a statement. “TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship will help immigrant students fulfill their dreams of obtaining a college education so they can better the lives of their families, communities, and our nation.”
(Graham is the chairman of the company that formerly owned The Washington Post.)
Delaware State, an historically black university in Dover, typically charges out-of-state students about $27,000 for tuition, fees, room and board. Comparable out-of-state charges at Eastern Connecticut State, in Willimantic, this year are about $34,000.
The new scholarships aim to help cover tuition, fees, room and board for eligible students at a rate of up to $20,000 a year for four years. No state funds will be spent, Graham said.
“Not only are we proud to provide these hardworking students with the opportunity to obtain a higher education, the state of Connecticut also stands to benefit from welcoming them – along with their talents and outstanding potential – to our communities,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) said in a statement.
“This partnership will add to Delaware State’s incredible legacy of creating new opportunities for students to get a great education and pursue their dreams,” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) said.
Questions about access to public college for immigrant students have prompted debate in many states.
TheDream.US said its scholarship will help students who live in 16 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.