Private scholarship offered for immigrant students to attend college

A national immigration organization is offering scholarships to immigrant students denied access to some of Georgia’s top colleges. The awards would help them attend school in two states where colleges accept undocumented students.

The scholarship, announced Monday by TheDream.US group, will provide money for 500 immigrant students with a special reprieve from deportation through the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to attend colleges in Connecticut and Delaware.

Georgia rules bar DACA recipients from attending some of the state’s top public universities and from being able to pay lower, in-state tuition at others.

DACA students and their supporters have protested those policies in recent years. Last week a group of protesters was arrested during a demonstration at a meeting of the state Board of Regents. Two lawsuits are working through Fulton County and federal courts regarding the Regents policies.

“Education is an American value; we should help every student who has worked hard,” said Donald Graham, co-founder of TheDream.US, a scholarship program for “Dreamers,” immigrant youth who came to the country without documentation.

The new scholarship, which is privately funded, will pay up to $80,000 to help cover tuition, fees, on-campus housing and meals for up to 500 out-of-state immigrant students. Additional scholarship, up to $7,250 each, will also be available for in-state immigrants attending Eastern Connecticut State and Delaware State universities.

The scholarship follows work by some some private schools, including Emory University, to offer scholarships to DACA students, a significant benefit because DACA recipients don't qualify for federal student aid.

The deadline to apply for TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship is June 9. It is available to DACA students in 16 states including Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.