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Despite DACA uncertainty, Dreamers still determined to go to college

Even though the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program remains uncertain, it has not deterred you...

Posted: Mar 4, 2018 7:21 PM

Even though the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program remains uncertain, it has not deterred young Dreamers from pursuing scholarships to colleges in the United States.

"In the last few months, we have seen a sharp uptick in the number of applications for our college scholarships. It's even surprised me," said Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US, a nationwide scholarship fund that helps DACA status immigrants attend one of 75 colleges in 15 states.

Marshall said Dreamers with DACA protection seem more resolved than ever to pursue a college education.

"We feared this climate of uncertainty might have a chilling effect, but it's been the opposite," she said.

DACA has enabled nearly 689,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to come out from the shadows and openly attend school, get work permits and driver's licenses without the fear of being deported.

President Trump announced the end of the DACA program last fall, giving Congress a March 5 deadline to come up with an alternate solution. But that deadline became moot after two separate district courts ruled that the administration must keep accepting renewal applications for the program, effectively putting the termination temporarily on hold.

Because DACA doesn't give Dreamers legal permanent status, or a path to citizenship, they aren't eligible for federal student aid. Therefore, many either self-fund their educations or rely on private donors and scholarships.

TheDream.US is the largest scholarship fund of its kind in the nation. It fully funds the college education of 800 to 1,000 DACA scholars each year.

TheDream.US said 11,655 applications have been started for the 2018-2019 academic year and nearly 4,000 have been completed and submitted.

"This is a record number," said Marshall.

She said some applications don't get fully completed because applicants realize the participating schools are too far away to commute to or they don't qualify for in-state tuition.

Related: Jeff Bezos is helping send 1,000 Dreamers to college

Amazon founder Jezz Bezos and his wife MacKenzie donated $33 million to the fund in January. Other notable donors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pierre and Pam Omidyar, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Since it first launched in 2013, the organization has given out $103 million in scholarships to Dreamers who attend its partner colleges, including Arizona State University, The City University of New York, Colorado State University, and Phoenix College.

Related: Who is covered by DACA? Students, teachers, caregivers and more

Southern New Hampshire University recently partnered with TheDream.US to launch a $20 million fund that will grant scholarships to 1,000 DACA recipients nationwide over the next five years.

The program, which offers both associate and bachelor's degrees, enables students to do much of their course and project work online and offers personalized coaching, advising, and other resources.

CNNMoney spoke with the first recipient of Southern New Hampshire's scholarship.

"I've always wanted to go to college. I want to become a nurse and take care of children," said the 17-year-old high school senior, who asked CNNMoney to remain anonymous "I babysit for two families and I love kids."

She hopes to pursue an associate's degree first and then a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Her parents brought her to America from Brazil when she was three years old and they remain undocumented. "The main reason my parents brought me to America was to give me a better life. If I have to work 10 times harder to prove that I earned this scholarship, I will," she said.

However, she said she worries about her ability to remain in the U.S. after her DACA status expires in August. If the court ruling stays in place until then, she might be able to renew her status for another two years.

Related: As DACA debate continues, these Dreamers are saving lives

"Dreamers are being used as a political football. But we are ready to place our bet on these Dreamers and invest in their future," said Paul LeBlanc, president of the private, non-profit university based in Manchester, New Hampshire.

LeBlanc said the online learning model is particularly well-suited for Dreamers, many of whom have to work full-time to make ends' meet or take care of parents and siblings. The university currently has about 100,000 students enrolled, with most in full online programs.

In the event a student is unable to remain in the country, LeBlanc said the university would help the student continue the program from wherever they are located.

"As an institution of higher education, we are in the business of hope. We have hundreds of thousands of [these] young people who have known no country, but the U.S.," said LeBlanc. "Among them might be the next brilliant scientist, general, community leader, inventor, or entrepreneur. We must give them the tools to realize their potential. We cannot squander this talent."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
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Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
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Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
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Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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