On January 10th, 2018, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the DACA program. DACA, also known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama-era protection program for immigrants under the age of 10 brought without documentation into the country. Colloquially, these immigrants are referred to as Dreamers.
According to TheDream.us, only about one third of these youths graduate from high school, with fewer than 10 percent going on to enroll in college. There, they have almost no access to financial aid of any sort and must pay either out-of-state or international tuition, which can triple normal college costs. TheDream is a college access and success program targeted at these youths, operating via scholarships and partnerships with colleges.
On Friday, January 12th, Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos awarded TheDream the largest donation in the organization’s three-year history: a $33 million dollar scholarship grant. This grant alone will create over a thousand full-ride scholarships for undocumented graduates, giving them chances that could have been miles out of reach.
“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan,” said Amazon magnate Jeff Bezos. “He landed in this country alone and unable to speak English. With a lot of grit and determination—and the help of some remarkable organizations in Delaware—my dad became an outstanding citizen, and he continues to give back to the country that he feels blessed him in so many ways. MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today’s Dreamers by funding these scholarships.”
Bezos’s father, Mike Bezos, was one of the founding donors to TheDream alongside giants like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Only three years old, TheDream can’t yet report a graduation rate. But so far, 94% of their recipients return to college for a second year, more than twenty percent higher than the national average.