Scholarships to help 'Dreamers' attend North Central College

  • North Central College campus in Naperville.

      North Central College campus in Naperville. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, July 2022

Posted12/2/2022 5:00 AM

North Central College has formed a new partnership with a scholarship program to help undocumented students pay for their tuition.

The Naperville college is offering scholarships funded by TheDream.US, a nonprofit organization that provides tuition support to young immigrants known as "Dreamers." Students can now apply to receive up to $8,250 for tuition and fees. TheDream.US scholarships are renewable annually.


The decade-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, young people who were brought to the United States as children, from deportation.

But DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, like Pell grants, to pay for college. And fewer than two dozen states provide in-state tuition to undocumented students, according to the Higher Ed Immigration Portal.

TheDream.US, the nation's largest scholarship program for Dreamers, aims to break down those barriers by increasing college access and affordability.

At North Central, a private liberal arts college, the goal is to have 10 students receive TheDream.US scholarships in the first year of the partnership, said Kevin Towns, the college's director of financial aid. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28.

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"I am proud and delighted that North Central College has partnered with TheDream.US to support academic opportunities for undocumented students," North Central interim President Donna Carroll said in a statement. "This is a moral leadership moment for the college in the context of its Methodist mission."

North Central does not ask students about their DACA status. Scholarship applications are open to Dreamers with or without temporary protected status who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 and before Nov. 1, 2017.

TheDream.US has provided more than 8,750 college scholarships to Dreamers. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his then-wife MacKenzie Scott donated $33 million to the organization in 2018. Notable donors also include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Among Chicago-area schools, North Central joins Northern Illinois University in making the scholarships available to students.

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