Making Government Work

Tired of Waiting for Immigration Reform, One Man Is Giving Undocumented Students a Shot at the American Dream

February 10, 2014
Tired of Waiting for Immigration Reform, One Man Is Giving Undocumented Students a Shot at the American Dream
Ana Maria Archila (R) and Carly Fox, of the New York State Dream Act Task Force, hold each other during a mock graduation ceremony at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol April 20, 2004 in Washington, DC. Several hundred students and advocates took part in the ceremony and urged Congress and the Bush administration to pass the Dream Act, which would put U.S.-raised immigrant students on the path to college and U.S. citizenship. The act has still not passed. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former Washington Post CEO Don Graham announces a $25 million scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants.

Don Graham, the former CEO of the Washington Post Company, doesn’t think America can afford to wait for immigration reform before beginning to help the undocumented students who were brought here as kids. To that end, he’s announced a $25 million scholarship fund for such students, called TheDream.US, which will begin providing 1,000 full-ride scholarships a year to some of the estimated 240,000 college students brought to the U.S. as children who are still waiting for the passage of the DREAM Act to provide them with a more secure legal status.

These students, who aren’t at immediate risk because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, do not qualify for federal student aid or Pell grants. Eighteen states now offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, with more debating the issue currently, such as Arizona and North Carolina.

Republican and Democratic legislators alike have given public support to TheDream.Us, whose funders include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. The fund has already given 38 scholarships to students in all majors but liberal arts, and TheDream.Us administrators are working with a group of colleges that the students can attend. Graham told Maggie Severns and Hadas Gold of Politico, “We’re focusing on places that are low enough in cost that we can send a lot of students there, because we have to raise every dollar for their tuition,” giving students “a bachelor’s degree from a good place that will give students a start.”

MORE: Meet the Undocumented Immigrants Who Created an App to Press for Immigration Reform