DACA students statewide applying to UM now eligible for UDreamer program

The steps by Lake Osceola are the best on-campus hangout. Hallee Meltzer // Assistant Photo Editor (File photo)

The University of Miami has expanded the extent of the UDreamer program, allowing students state-wide to apply for the grant.

The UDreamer program is a grant providing aid to Dreamers – students who immigrated illegally to the United States as children and are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act enacted in 2012. The grant covers 100 percent of the student’s financial need.

Originally, only Miami-Dade residents applying to UM were able to apply for the grant. According to a 2015 report from a Washington-based research organization Migration Policy Institute (MPI), 156,000 undocumented immigrants live in Miami-Dade.

“In keeping with the university’s commitment to eliminate barriers to college access and sustain a diverse and inclusive community in which everyone belongs, the UDreamers Grant was expanded to eligible DACA high school seniors as well as transfer students currently enrolled in any accredited post-secondary institution in the state of Florida,” said Iris Florez, assistant director of UM’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Because of their legal status, dreamers are unable to access state or federal financial aid when applying for college, relying solely on merit-based scholarships. The UDreamer grant was introduced in December 2016 as a result of Florez working with counselors and students to find new ways to help students.

Support within Miami-Dade and the university has led to its expansion. DACA students transferring from outside Florida are ineligible for the grant but are still able to apply for merit-based scholarship.

In January 2017, President Julio Frenk reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Dreamers.

“Miami, the city this university calls home, has long been a model in demonstrating the remarkable role immigrants and refugees can play in creating a dynamic and thriving community where everyone – regardless of race, religion or country of origin – can contribute to prosperity and well-being in the United States and around the world,” Frenk said. “This belief is at the heart of the University of Miami’s dedication to creating and sharing knowledge that transcends national, ideological and cultural borders.”

See Andrea Illan’s column on the UDreamer grant here.