Western Illinois DREAMer Scholarship Fund Drive Underway
MACOMB/Moline, IL – Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, the Western Illinois University DREAMer Scholarship Fund awarded more than $23,000 to four “DREAMers” during the 2021-2022 academic year. Political Science Professor Julia Albarracin-Green, who established the WIU DREAMer Scholarship Fund, hopes to do the same for the 2022-2023 academic year.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than 33,700 individuals considered Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) reside in Illinois. To help these childhood arrivals to the United States achieve their dreams, Albarracin-Green created the DREAMers (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Scholarship Fund at Western.
“Almost 100,000 undocumented students (aka DREAMers) graduate from U.S. high schools. The financial, social and legal challenges faced by these students, who are more than ready for college, can be overwhelming,” Albarracin-Green noted. “They were brought to the U.S. for a better life, and Western Illinois University provides that opportunity.”
During last year’s WIU DREAMer Scholarship Fund drive, $23,000 was raised, after an initial goal set for $10,000, and Albarracin-Green is hoping for the same this year. Individuals can go online at bit.ly/3BlEM9d, or send their donations for the WIU DREAMer Scholarship to the WIU Foundation, 303 Sherman Hall, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL, 61455-1390.
“Western Illinois University has a longstanding and proud tradition of providing an affordable and accessible education. We will continue to provide these academic opportunities, regardless of where a student comes from. Western’s educational programs are not bound by borders. Students who meet the University’s admissions criteria are welcome at WIU,” said WIU President Guiyou Huang. Western Illinois University is an inclusive and diverse community that supports higher education for one and all.”
Albarracin-Green explained that these undocumented students do not have access to federal financial aid (scholarships, grants, subsidized loans, and work-study programs), so scholarship funds like the WIU DREAMer Fund make an enormous difference.
“I know that paying my tuition off will make me eligible for graduation. It will also relieve the stress of acquiring the funds to pay for my tuition,” a previous scholarship recipient shared. “This gives me mental clarity to entirely focus on my studies and conclude my cancer research. I always dreamed of graduating and making the older generations of my family proud.”
Albarracin-Green added that DREAMers also tend to be highly motivated and choose professions with a strong commitment to social justice and giving back to their communities.
“My goal is to become a speech-language pathologist with a minor in Spanish to help ensure access, and diagnose, and treat speech, social communication, and swallowing disorders, as well as help advocate for those wants and needs,” another recipient said.
The WIU DREAMer Scholarship Fund is managed by the nonprofit Western Illinois DREAMers, in collaboration with the WIU Casa Latina Cultural Center and the WIU Foundation.
For more information, visit Westernillinoisdreamers.org or email Albarracin-Green at Jfirstname.lastname@example.org.