Dreamers scholarship gives DACA recipients, undocumented students at WSU financial support

President+of+Sigma+Lambda+Beta+Luis+Banda+discusses+the+Dreamer%27s+Scholarship+during+an+interview+with+The+Sunflower+inside+the+Rhatigan+Student+Center+June+17%2C+2021.+The+Dreamers+Scholarship+is+a+program+tailored+to+provide+financial+support+for+DACA+recipients+and+undocumented+students+at+WSU.

Lindsay Smith / The Sunflower

President of Sigma Lambda Beta Luis Banda discusses the Dreamer’s Scholarship during an interview with The Sunflower inside the Rhatigan Student Center June 17, 2021. The Dreamers Scholarship is a program tailored to provide financial support for DACA recipients and undocumented students at WSU.

While college isn’t cheap for anyone, most students have the option of receiving loans and grants through federal financial aid.  However, DACA recipients and undocumented students don’t have that option.

The dreamers scholarship was created in 2018 by the Rho Beta chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta and the Student Government Association.  Sigma Lambda Beta raises money for the scholarship throughout the year and SGA matches what they make.

“The dreamers scholarship is for those that are undocumented or DACA and can’t really apply to those normal scholarships like you and I can,” Luis Banda, president of Sigma Lambda Beta said.

The scholarship is open for anyone starting or continuing their education at WSU, but they take preference over students who are DACA recipients or undocumented.  To fill out the application, Click here.  Applications are due July 2nd at 11:59 p.m. 

“We try to make sure that we give it to the people that we believe really need it and truly deserve it,” Zachary James, SGA treasurer and the chair of the dreamer scholarship committee, said.

The application includes a series of questions discussing goals and what the student plans on pursuing as a career.

“We have a lot of students who are on DACA and we think it is important so that they can be helped out,” Banda said. “Not a lot of people can help them because of their situation and we are finding an outlet to help them out.”

James said that this scholarship is important because there isn’t really any other place for DACA or undocumented students to find funding for their education.

“Obviously, being a college student, college affordability is the biggest thing that hinders students from finishing or even starting their degree,” James said. “We can tell by the numerous applications we get each year and the scholarships we give out that it does make a big difference in student’s lives.”

Four or five scholarships are given out each year, depending on the number of applicants.  Banda said that they try to give out at least $6,000 a year, but COVID-19 made that more difficult this year.

“The dreamer scholarship is really important to us,” Banda said. “This past year with COVID, we knew we couldn’t do a lot of things but we knew we had to do this because there is a community out there that is relying on us and we want to help any way possible.  

“We do a dreamer run every year, we also do a fireworks stand and all of that money goes back to this scholarship.”

The fireworks sale will be June 27th through July 4th at 719 7th street, Augusta, KS 67010.

Banda said for previous winners, getting this scholarship made a huge difference in their lives.

“Those people who have those scholarships have made so many memories here, achieved so much here, and it’s unbelievable because I’ve met these people and they are top students, people who are excellent and in great positions because of this scholarship,” Banda said.