Campus News

UW-Madison Dreamers create scholarship for DACA students

Image By: Betsy Osterberger and Betsy Osterberger

A group of UW-Madison students has taken advocating for undocumented students into their own hands.

After becoming a registered organization in 2016 with the goal of providing support for the self-described Dreamers in the community, the Dreamers of UW-Madison released a scholarship application Tuesday for undocumented students for the fall 2018 semester.

The group will award two one-time $1,000 scholarships — one to a current undocumented student attending UW-Madison, Edgewood College or Madison College and one to an undocumented high school senior enrolled in one of the three colleges for the upcoming semester.

Selina Armenta, a recent UW-Madison graduate and club co-founder, said these scholarships are a step in what has been a two-year effort to address the struggles and needs of undocumented students. According to Armenta, undocumented students often struggle financially because they do not qualify for in-state tuition and are unable to apply for federal and state aid.

“This type of scholarship is important because undocumented students in Wisconsin don’t really have a whole bunch of options financially when it comes to affording college,” Armenta said. “We have to rely on these types of private scholarships — which are usually smaller — and our own income.”

Dreamers of UW-Madison has worked to raise money for this scholarship since its founding in 2016, according to UW-Madison junior and group co-founder Jazmin Vargas. She said that, in addition to holding restaurant fundraisers in which portions of sale prices go toward the organization, group members have also created and sold T-shirts to fund the scholarships.

The group has raised approximately $3,500 selling $20 T-shirts with slogans like “I support Undocumented Students” and “Undocumented and Unafraid.”

In addition to being enrolled at one of the three Madison colleges, an applicant must have a minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.0 or a high school GPA of 3.25, present a high school or college transcript and submit one letter of recommendation. Applicants will also be required to complete two essays regarding their efforts to create social change and hardships they have overcome.

While this is just the first year the scholarship is being offered, the group said it plans to continue to provide aid to undocumented students each spring.

“It is an ongoing thing,” Armenta said. “We are still selling shirts. We are still trying to raise the money so that hopefully in the future we can give more than two scholarships and maybe increase the amounts as well.”

Applications are due to the Dreamers of UW-Madison by Thursday, May 31, at 11:59 p.m. Scholarship award notifications will be sent on or before Sunday, July 15, according to the application.

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