$937,000 Grant From Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation Paves the Way for More DREAMers to Pursue Higher Education

College of Health Solutions Convocation Criminal justice graduate Karina Medina shows off her first generation graduate mortar board prior to the Hispanic Convocation at Wells Fargo Arena. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASUNow

The path toward higher education is often a difficult one for students who identify as “DREAMers,” but a generous scholarship grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will help substantially more of them achieve their academic goals.

DREAMers, who were young children when their parents came to the United States illegally, face numerous hurdles associated with attending college that many of their native-born peers don’t. The three-year, $937,000 grant given to the ASU Foundation seeks to help eliminate many of these hurdles, thereby paving the way for more hardworking DREAMers to continue their education after high school.

“By no fault of their own, DREAMers are starting their pursuit of higher education at a great disadvantage,” said businessman Bob Parsons, who heads the foundation alongside his wife, Renee.

“America is a nation of immigrants, and it is our duty to step up and support those who are working hard to earn a better life for themselves and their families, no matter how they got here.”

Unlike native-born students, DREAMers are not eligible for federal financial aid, work-study programs or similar forms of assistance, which can make it exponentially more difficult for them to finance higher education. DREAMers are also unable to take advantage of in-state college tuition rates, instead having to pay 50% more than other students paying in-state tuition.

The grant money given will fund 35 scholarships for DREAMers, helping students, many of whom are either the first in their families to attend college or responsible for financially supporting their families, continue their pursuit of higher education. Grant money will also finance the Parsons Scholars program, which offers ongoing academic coaching and financial literacy training for college-bound DREAMers.

“ASU has long supported DREAMers, a position that is congruent with our unwavering commitment to providing access to all students who are qualified to attend the university, regardless of their background or circumstance,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Bob and Renee Parsons’ support will help more deserving students have an opportunity to attend the university and enhance their opportunity for a successful future.”

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