University of Minnesota fund to help immigrant students

MINNEAPOLIS — A new scholarship fund at the University of Minnesota is aimed at supporting immigrant students whose legal status may be at risk.

University of Minnesota’s Immigration Response Team launched the Dream Fund earlier this month to help students whose ability to pay for college may be affected by their legal status, Minnesota Daily reported .

Continued talks of immigration reform as well as the approaching renewal deadline for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have left some immigrant students uncertain of their future, said Erika Lee, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University.

The 2013 Minnesota Dream Act allows students who graduate from a state high school to pay in-state tuition, regardless of immigration status. But many immigrant students work in order to earn money to pay for tuition, said Marissa Hill-Dongre, director of the response team. The legal loss of the right to work could force students to drop out midsemester, she said.

The new scholarship fund is donation-based and gives small grants to students, Hill-Dongre said.

“The idea is that, perhaps, the Dream Fund would allow a student to at least get through a semester in which that happens . (and) try to figure out what their options are going forward,” Hill-Dongre said.

Applicants will have to prove that they have a financial need that stems from a change in immigration status in order to qualify. Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status may qualify.

The money can be used for tuition and other necessities, such as groceries.

The University of California-Berkeley, Western Michigan University and the University of Utah have created similar funds, Hill-Dongre said.