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Weber State “dreamers” getting $1.2M scholarship boost

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 14, 2023

Image supplied, Weber State University

Thirty-one Weber State students will benefit from $1.2 million in scholarship funds during the 2023-2024 school year geared to "dreamers" from TheDream.us, a nonprofit group.

OGDEN — Weber State “dreamers” are getting a boost worth more than $1 million from TheDream.us, a nonprofit group focused on helping undocumented immigrants in college.

Thirty-one Weber State students with varied immigrant statuses, including some who are “fully undocumented,” are sharing $1.2 million in scholarship funds for the 2023-2024 school year thanks to the program, Weber State said in a statement. The school — which is putting a big focus on bolstering Latino enrollment, immigrant or otherwise — plans to continue the partnership with the organization in years to come.

“This scholarship is instrumental in helping me achieve my dreams,” Bianca Alvarado, a microbiology student and scholarship recipient, said in the statement. “I now have the freedom to focus on my studies and academic goals.”

“Dreamers” — the term Weber State used to describe the scholarship recipients — are younger immigrants typically brought to the United States illegally by their parents from Latin America and other countries abroad. If undocumented, they can face obstacles in tapping into federal loans and other financing programs geared to college students.

TheDream.us estimates that 98,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year but that only 5% to 10% go to college. “Despite the fact that this is the only country they have ever known — they’ll receive no federal aid to go to college, have limited access to state aid and often face paying out-of-state tuition,” says TheDream.us website.

More than 1,800 students across the country have been awared scholarships from TheDream.us this year, the largest pool ever from the organization.

Weber State has other scholarship programs that undocumented students can tap, including the Oportunidad Scholarship and the Sonora Grill Scholarship, according to the university. Even so, the funding provided via the two initiatives — not meant exclusively for undocumented students — is much smaller.  The Oportunidad Scholarship provided $3,500 in all to five students for the current school year while the Sonora Grill initiative provided two students with $2,500 each.

The money from TheDream.us, meant to reduce the financial stress recipient students might otherwise face, covers tuition and also provides student recipients with a $750-per-semester stipend.

As part of its efforts to bolster Latino enrollment, Weber State is hoping to increase the number of Latino students at the school to 15% of the student body by the fall of 2025.


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