UC Berkeley Announces $1 Million Scholarship for Undocumented Immigrant Students
The University of California at Berkeley has announced the creation of a $1 million scholarship called The Dreamers Fund, created to help undocumented immigrant students pay for college. Created by an endowment by the Evelyn and Water Haas Jr. Foundation, The Dreamers Fund is the largest scholarship of its kind within the entire American collegiate system and will help over 200 students from 20 different countries attend college early next year.
“We are committed to advancing rights and creating opportunities so that all people can live, work and raise their families with dignity,” Haas Jr. Fund President Ira S. Hirschfield told NBC Bay Area. “These motivated, hardworking and inspiring students are an asset to our state and our country.”
Although Caliornia allows undocumented immigrant students to receive in-state tuition, these students are still unable to receive any federal aid when attending college, such as being kept from receiving federal loans and Pell grants, as well as participation in work-study programs.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” Uriel Rivera, an undocumented UC Berkeley student who had drop out when his family was unable to keep up with tuition, told NBC Latino in a statement. “You’re just not paying for a student to go to college, you are helping a whole community.”
However, the $8,000 scholarship has already netted controversy in regards to the requirement of a 3.0 GPA or above in order to qualify, given the amount of extra strain put on the lives of immigrant students.
“[Undocumented] students usually work two jobs and take care of family and have to deal with psychological distress, and getting 3.0 for…[undocumented] students is not easy,” UC Berkeley senior Ju Hong explained to Berkeley’s Daily Californian. “But the financial office mentioned that even if you don’t have a 3.0 GPA, you are still encouraged to apply. So everyone has a chance to apply and receive $8,000 based on financial need.”