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The Daily Wildcat


UA announces new scholarship partnership to support undocumented students

Lizzy Sorensen
Old Main is the center of the University of Arizona campus.

The University of Arizona has partnered with TheDream.US to improve access to higher education for Arizona’s undocumented youth. 

In its 10-year history, TheDream.US has provided thousands of scholarships to help non-citizen students, with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy or temporary protected status, get a degree from one of the program’s 80+ partner schools. As of the 2024-2025 school year, the UA will be one of these schools. 

Applications for the national scholarship opened on Nov. 1, and the deadline is Feb. 29, 2024. This scholarship provides up to $33,000 towards a bachelor’s degree at partner schools in states where undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition, which includes Arizona as of 2022. 

“We believe that everyone, regardless of their status, should have equitable access to a college education and a meaningful career post graduation,” said Nicole Wesley, senior program manager of career supports at TheDream.US.

Wesley explained that partner schools must have existing infrastructure to support undocumented students and commit additional resources to accepted scholars. 

“Once they get their scholarship from TheDream.US, we then fill in any remaining need that might be there to cover their resident tuition and mandatory fees,” Rafael Meza, senior director for enrollment management at the UA, said. 

Applicants must apply to the scholarship online and to the partner university for admission as well. They will be notified by TheDream.US in April if they are selected. 

“This partnership is reflective of the broader university commitment to help our Arizona residents be as prepared as possible to meet the cost of tuition at the University of Arizona,” Meza said. 

According to Meza, the first cohort of UA recipients is expected to consist of 10 students. Support for these scholars will include designated contacts in various departments across campus. 

“Part of why we’re a good match for them is we have had a history of supporting undocumented and DACAmented students through the last few years,” said Karla Cruze-Silva, the UA’s associate director for Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives. 

Cruze-Silva explained that the scholarship furthers existing efforts on campus to provide assistance to undocumented students, such as the UA President’s Directed Scholarship and the Immigrant Student Resource Center.

“This is a way for us to actually live out the mission of a land-grant, of being an HSI, of trying to create a more inclusive and accessible space,” Cruze-Silva said.

Jessica Martinez, the coordinator of immigrant student support at the Thrive Center, will also serve as a scholarship advisor and will meet with the selected students and help them navigate university resources. The Thrive Center already offers mentorship, workshops, social events and more for students.  

“It definitely opens doors to our undocumented students,” Martinez said about the scholarship. “It makes the dream possible.”

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