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Scholarship fund enacted to help undocumented students

The legislative gridlock over immigration reform, specifically the DREAM Act, was one of the central issues in the recent presidential election. After retaining the White House and a majority in the Senate, many political analysts believe that democrats will invest their political capital by trying to pass the DREAM Act once again.

While that may have to wait till after the fiscal cliff is averted, the University of California at Berkeley has created its own initiative to enable undocumented immigrants to get an education. It recently announced that it would be forming a $1 million scholarship fund for such students. Named the Dreamers Fund (a play on the DREAM Act), it will help hundreds of students from more than 20 countries meet tuition costs when it goes into effect in 2013.

The scholarship fund is created through a gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Foundation and was made possible after California passed its own version of the Act in 2011. The foundation's president, Ira Hirschfield explained that the scholarships will help "motivated, hardworking and inspiring students."

Undocumented students, which make up about 1 percent of the UC's student population, are eligible for in-state tuition, which saves a great deal of money, but they may not receive Pell grants, federal student loans or participate in work-study programs. This leaves many students with the burden of working (sometimes two jobs) to support their education. The $8,000 annual scholarship will help.

There are certain requirements, however. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA to retain the scholarship.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com, Undocumented student scholarships: UC Berkeley sets $1 million fund to help dreamers, December 12, 2012

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