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Farmingdale State partners with scholarship program for DACA students

A privately funded scholarship program to help fund

A privately funded scholarship program to help fund college educations for students brought to the country illegally has added Farmingdale State College as a partner school.  Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A privately funded scholarship program to help fund college educations for students brought to the country illegally as children has added Farmingdale State College as a partner school, the first on Long Island and in the SUNY system.

TheDream.US National Scholarship Program, based in Washington, D.C., relies on donations from philanthropies, businesses and individuals to fund aid to highly qualified low-income young people with legal status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or temporary protected status, or meet the DACA eligibility criteria. These students are not eligible for federal student aid.

In states such as New York with access to state aid and in-state tuition at public colleges, recipients can receive up to $16,500 for an associate degree or up to $33,000 for a bachelor’s degree at a partner college where they have been accepted for enrollment. The scholarship application deadline is Feb. 28. The guidelines on how to apply can be downloaded from thedream.us website, on the 'How to Apply' page or by calling 855-670-4787 for further information.

Matthew Colson, a spokesman for Farmingdale State, said the college had already been informed that a few students applied for the scholarship and "indicated an interest in Farmingdale and we’re excited about that. We are built for this. We have long been known to be an engine of opportunity and this fits right in."

He added the college’s expectation was for 10 initial recipients next year, and that the number would eventually grow to 20 to 30.

Current college students can apply for TheDream.US scholarships as long as they have not earned more than 21 credits at a four-year college or university before fall 2022, not counting credits earned while in high school or a pre-college program.

The program was launched in 2014 by a group led by Donald Graham, chairman of the Graham Holdings Co. (formerly the Washington Post), and as of fall 2021 had committed $305 million in scholarship money and awarded 7,500 scholarships with 3,500 students now enrolled and 2,100 graduates.

Farmingdale is one of 68 colleges currently accepting new scholarship applicants as partner colleges throughout the country, including 19 in New York. All but Farmingdale are public two-and four-year colleges in New York City including Queens College, Brooklyn College, Hunter College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Colson said the scholarship check goes to the college to help pay tuition and fees, and that an additional stipend is available for books, supplies and transportation. With state aid, he said, "It’s likely the math will add up for most students."

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