UC Berkeley undocumented students will now have more financial support for their education, thanks to a new scholarship fund awarded to the campus.
On Tuesday, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund awarded $1 million in scholarship money to the campus’s The Dreamers Fund, an initiative that hopes to increase access to education among the campus’s undocumented students. The gift is the largest scholarship fund for undocumented students awarded to any university in the country and will go into effect next fall semester, according to ABC News.
Haas Jr. Fund spokesperson Denis Chicola said the fund is excited to be partnering with UC Berkeley in its longstanding commitment to the inclusion of undocumented students in the education system.
“We feel like these dreamers have already beaten the odds,” Chicola said. “They have really proven themselves as hardworking students. They grew up here, and we felt they needed this support to help them complete their studies.”
The gift will help nearly 200 undocumented students at UC Berkeley from 20 different countries who are eligible for some state-funded grants and scholarships but remain ineligible for federal Pell grants, federally backed loans or work-study positions, according to ABC News.
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesperson for Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said that the fund will also foster the growth of leaders and professionals in the immigrant community.
“We are extremely grateful the Haas (Fund) has a vision of immigrants as an integral part of society,” Cabrera said. “This is an investment in the future of our nation.”
Uriel Rivera, an undocumented student who took time off from UC Berkeley to save up more money to fund his education, was elated when he found out about the award.
“I’m eligible for the fund,” Rivera said. “It makes a huge difference for me to come back and fund my education.”
According to ABC News, the Haas Jr. Fund has also awarded $300,000 to UC Berkeley to help support a new resource center for the university’s undocumented students.
Chicola said that the fund hopes to encourage others to donate to The Dreamers Fund and will also continue to educate the public about the need to reform immigration policy.
“We really try and do the work that is required to open the doors of opportunities for people like these dreamers that have been closed for too long, ” Chicola said.
Contact Aly Neumann at [email protected].