Organization doubles college scholarships awarded to Illinois’ DACA recipients

TheDream.US, an organization tailored for helping college-bound immigrant students, is doubling the number of scholarships it awards in Illinois from 60 to 120.

As in the past, the expanded program for the 2020-2021 school year will provide opportunities for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.

TheDream.US is one of the nation’s largest college-assistance program for immigrant students granted temporary rights to live, study and work in the United States under DACA. Those protected under DACA are often known as “Dreamers.”

The seven universities and colleges in the state that accept scholarships from TheDream.US include Loyola University’s Arrupe College; Dominican University; Illinois College; Lewis University; National Louis University; Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The scholarship amount awarded varies for each student.

Juan Manuel Castro, a Dreamer and recent graduate of UIC, is a former recipient of TheDream.US scholarship.

Castro plans to use his degree in criminology as a “stepping stone” toward a career that will help him be a “role model for other young immigrants.”

“Because of the DACA program and a scholarship from TheDream.US, I have been able to tap into my passions and achieve my dream of a college degree without hiding in the shadows,” Castro said.

Since 2014 the TheDream.US has awarded over 5,000 college scholarships in the country to Dreamers at more than 70 colleges.

“TheDream.US scholars attending our Chicago colleges and universities have compiled a stellar track record in and out of the classroom and continue to push forward to obtain a college education,” said Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US.

The deadline to apply for the scholarship — supported by the Pritzker Traubert Foundation and the Pritzker Foundation — is Feb. 27.

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.

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