These students (sometimes known as “Dreamers”) came to this country at a young age and have grown up and gone to high school in the U.S. Like many American students, they are eager to get a college education to help their families and communities prosper and give back to a country they call home.
But when it comes time to apply to college, each of them faces unique and bitter discrimination. No access to federal aid; limited access to state aid; and in 14 states they face paying out of state tuition. Yet, when given the access to an affordable education they excel.
In 2013, we started TheDream.US, which has become the nation’s largest private scholarship program for Dreamers. Since inception, we have provided more than 6,500 college scholarships to Dreamers attending more than 70 affordable Partner Colleges in 19 states and Washington, D.C.
As of 2020, we have more than 1,700 Graduates who are helping move our country forward. They are nurses, teachers, authors, computer scientists, research scientists, business entrepreneurs, nurses, policy analysts, social justice workers—all contributing to the social and economic prosperity of this country. Their stories are ones of resilience and determination.
In this Impact Report, you will meet our Scholars and Graduates and read about our impact. They are living proof of why all students—regardless of where they are born—should have equitable access to a college education and meaningful careers.
We are grateful to have so many incredible partners on this journey. Working together, we can ensure that undocumented students and their families have the opportunity to help move our country forward.
Chairman of the Board,
Graham Holdings Company
Former Secretary of Commerce
under President George W. Bush
Chairman and Chief Creative
Officer of Munoz & Company
TheDream.US Scholars are proof that undocumented immigrants excel when they have access to an affordable education and college supports.
“I [am] the first person in my family to get a degree and make over minimum wage. Before this opportunity, my parents wouldn’t have been able to pay for my college education. This scholarship changed my life in so many ways—not only mine but my entire family’s.”
“Every day, I’m inspired ... You didn’t just receive an education, you worked for it, you fought for it. So, I know that you’ll value it and put it to tremendous use in your own lives and in the life of our nation.”
—Dr. Jill Biden,
First Lady of the United States, addressing TheDream.US Graduates at our 2021 Virtual Commencement
“I could not be prouder of a group of students on our campus … In addition to being outstanding students in the classroom—in computer science, health sciences and other professions—our “Dreamers” are campus leaders in student government, active in student clubs, and regular service volunteers in our local community. They are well on their way to being some of our nation’s most impactful young leaders.”
—ELSA M. NÚÑEZ, PRESIDENT, EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
TheDream.US Scholars have exceeded the national benchmarks for just about every metric of academic success even while ...
Working with over 70 Partner Colleges across the country, we are dismantling the college and career barriers facing undocumented students.
Over 50% have an active undocumented student club or student-run organization.
100% have a designated staff member serving our Scholars and almost 50% have at least one full-time staff member serving undocumented students on campus.
Almost 50% have created an undocumented student resource center or have one in development.
Trusted advisors have an active undocumented student club or student-run organization.
Legal supports to help students maintain and adjust status
Emergency financial aid (for job loss, food security, rent)
Mental health supports to manage uncertainty and fear about the future
Career counseling that recognizes barriers to working with and without DACA or TPS
To learn more, read our latest Scholar Survey Report: In Their Own Words.
With access to career opportunities in businesses and organizations that want to tap into their multicultural talents, our Graduates are going on to impressive and impactful careers. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that our Graduates are essential to our country — working as health care providers, teachers, engineers, delivery workers, hospitality service providers, and more. As we look to our country’s future, these Graduates are poised to help carry our country forward.
“Today, I am an E.R. Nurse working on the front-line to help save those who have the coronavirus ... I am now in a position where I can help those who have the greatest need. Every time I go to work, I bravely gown up and do everything in my power to fight this pandemic and save lives.”
“Through my teaching and writing, I want to shed light on the immigration issues that impact our classrooms and how to help teachers create safe spaces for all students. Dreamer educators and children’s books about immigrants can help students and their families cope with the struggles that come along with being an immigrant, but also celebrate the triumphs and resilience.”
“I’ve always been into science and research, so I went into a field that indirectly helps medicine and patients. I previously worked in assay development, which is used in the diagnostics of certain illnesses. I now work as a Research Associate with Moderna in Boston. As an immigrant, I bring a sense of urgency. I feel like since our work authorizations are time limited, I want to get as much done as possible both in my professional and personal life.”
are in jobs that meet their career interests
received a raise and/or promotion since graduating
are offered employee benefits
“I graduated with a chemistry degree with a passion for the environment and fitness. I thought the best way to implement both is to create athletic wear sourced from sustainable/recycled materials like plastic bottles. My job function is to strategically plan out our business, where we just finished our first incubator program and are now planning a Kickstarter Campaign. Coming from a background as an Asian immigrant growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, and then living in a city like Chicago, showed me there are a myriad of different people in the world. It helped me understand that representation is very important as all people want a voice to be heard.”
“I came from Honduras when I was 3. Early in my college journey at Florida International University, I found my passion for computer science. I am now working at Microsoft as a program manager leading a team of engineers working on the Microsoft Teams product. I have dreamed all my life of making a difference. Leading a team that is creating innovative communication tools gives me the opportunity to give back—to show that I can help change the world.”
“Microsoft aims to make technology that empowers every person on the planet, and to do that, we need to better reflect the world we seek to serve. Our innovations thrive on diverse voices, experiences, and perspectives. Attracting and retaining talented people from all over the country and the world helps our company and our economy grow.”
—BRAD SMITH, MICROSOFT PRESIDENT VIA TIME MAGAZINE OP-ED
“TheDream.US has given me the hope and courage to become anything that I want to be in life. I no longer see myself as a Dreamer. Today, I am a doer. I am globally connected with some of the world's most brilliant minds to seek, create, and advance knowledge. As I embark on becoming an attorney at Columbia University, I am thrilled to become a voice against injustice for my people and, someday, a philanthropist for those most in need in our world.”
Securing college internships is considered integral to career readiness.
Yet, only 19% of our Scholars were able to access internships during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half of which were unpaid.
Career support networks are essential to finding strong first jobs. An estimated 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.
Yet, only 18% of our Graduates found their professional networks to be a useful resource in finding jobs.
Access to professional licenses are critical, but in most states, undocumented students are not allowed to get these licenses.
Yet, 59% of our Scholars are pursuing jobs and careers requiring licensure to practice, such as medical, legal, or engineering careers.
Graduate school is a necessary pathway into many careers, yet financial supports for these programs are virtually non-existent for undocumented students.
Only 13% of our Graduates are in graduate school, while 47% believe that graduate school is important for increased job opportunities and higher salaries.
“It is my passion to help others. One of the ways I do so is through persistent advocacy to ensure that students with disabilities are not deprived from receiving equal learning opportunities. Being an immigrant has taught me what it means to be excluded and fight my hardest to overcome barriers. I am driven by seeing other disadvantaged groups win.”
Your donation can help us continue to make college education accessible. Donate at TheDream.US/Donate
Encourage Congress to pass legislation that provides undocumented immigrants with permanent status so they are able to fully live their lives and contribute to our country.
Encourage your state legislators and policymakers to adopt or maintain in-state tuition, state aid, and professional licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Proactively recruit and hire undocumented immigrants with work authorizations. Visit TheDream.US/Hire-Dreamers to learn more.
“When I received TheDream.US scholarship years ago, I knew this was my opportunity to launch my dreams into reality. I’m now a middle school teacher ... Although I know my legal status is in limbo here and I could even lose my job in this country, one thing that will never be taken away is my education and my dreams. America is stronger when DREAMers have opportunities to succeed — in colleges and in classrooms and other workplaces around the country.”