Southern New Hampshire University, in partnership with the Shapiro Foundation and TheDream.US, has announced a $20 million initiative to provide scholarships to students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.
Over the next five years, the initiative will provide a thousand DACA students with the opportunity to pursue associate's and bachelor's degrees through SNHU's online competency-based education program, College for America. In addition to providing students with the flexibility to pursue a degree on their own schedule, College for America partners with on-the-ground nonprofit organizations such as Match Beyond in Massachusetts and IDEA-U in Texas to offer wraparound services such as coaching and advising, peer support, and connections with employers.
"As an institution of higher education, we are in the business of hope. We have hundreds of thousands of young people who have known no country but the U.S. but that are denied the financial support that gives them access to higher education. As a society, we can't afford to squander their talent and drive," said SNHU president Paul LeBlanc, whose family came to the U.S. when he was a child. "Among them might be the next brilliant scientist, general, community leader, inventor, or entrepreneur. We must give them the tools to realize their potential."
"Through this partnership with SNHU, we will be able to serve the many DREAMers who do not have the option of attending a traditional on-campus college," said Donald E. Graham, co-founder of TheDream.US. "These DREAMers work, have families, and simply do not have the resources nor flexibility to adjust their lives to a traditional college calendar. And yet, they want nothing more than to get a college education, so they can better support themselves, their families, and their communities."