Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (also known as DACA) is a federal policy that protects the children of undocumented immigrants in America. Although DACA does not currently provide a pathway to citizenship, it does allow “Dreamers,” as the children are called, to apply for a social security number, a driver’s license, and a work permit.
What DACA does not provide is access to federal funds like Pell Grants and student loans for Dreamers who wish to pursue higher education. Thus, many of them are faced with the dilemma of paying higher tuition or incurring higher debt than their fellow classmates in order to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree that would lead to a higher-paying job and financial security.
Araceli Lopez lives in Siler City and works as an Instructional Assistant at Pittsboro Elementary School, part of the Chatham County Public School System. She studied at Central Carolina Community College and is now pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and Elementary Education (dual licensure) from WGU.
Earlier this year Strategic Partnerships Manager Sunny Jordan surprised Araceli with a $10,000 scholarship from WGU. As Sunny said, “We hope this scholarship affords you the opportunity to be able to live your dreams.”
Oscar Flores from Durham was brought to the U.S.A. when he was eleven years old. He currently works at Duke Hospital and recalls a period during the pandemic last year when he worked for two months straight without any days off. Unfortunately, his career has hit a wall and he needs a postsecondary degree in order to advance. He is enrolled at WGU and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Business Administration—Management degree.
WGU North Carolina Chancellor Ben Coulter, Ed.D., chatted online with Oscar recently and surprised him with a $10,000 Opportunity Grant. “Thank you so much,” said a grateful Oscar. “I mean just hearing that, it means so much because I’ve worked really hard. It’s been really hard just to be here in school, so it definitely means so much to me.”