Initially launched in 2021, this first-of-its-kind program enables DACA & TPS students to access loan rates on par with rates that U.S. citizens receive.
BOSTON—Today, the national nonprofit Social Finance announced the expansion of the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program to all eligible Dreamers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) status. The expansion builds on a two-year pilot initially launched in 2021 with TheDream.US. Social Finance aims to maximize the reach of the program to ultimately serve over 1,000 students, helping Dreamers finance graduate degrees in fields like business, education, medicine, and law and land well-paying jobs in sectors in need of new talent and diverse perspectives.
Unlike federal loan options, which offer no borrowing solution for DACA students, the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program offers student-friendly loans with interest rates equivalent to the federal government’s Direct PLUS loan program that’s available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Notably, the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program has no cosigner requirements, no minimum credit score requirements, and no additional fees typically associated with securing a loan. Students can expect simple, straightforward loan terms; flexible repayment options; and zero prepayment penalties, which help ensure they can successfully repay their loans without being overwhelmed by an unmanageable level of debt. All participants also receive free access to individualized financial coaching through a partnership between Social Finance and UnidosUS.
“At Social Finance, we firmly believe that education can be a catalyst for social and economic mobility. We are excited to build upon the success of our pilot program and continue advancing pathways for Dreamers to realize their full economic potential. Together, we can create a future where all individuals, regardless of their background, have equal opportunities to succeed,” said Tracy Palandjian, CEO and Co-Founder of Social Finance.
“This loan changed my situation a lot. I’m very thankful because I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to go to graduate school without it, especially when every other loan program I spoke with said I wasn’t a citizen [and therefore was not eligible for a loan]. I’m really glad that there are people out there who believe in providing opportunities for DACA individuals like me,” said University of Memphis scholarship recipient Ji Wan Son, who was able to further his ambitions of becoming a psychologist through the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program.
“Dreamers possess incredible potential and aspirations, but they often face insurmountable barriers in pursuing their graduate education,” said Donald Graham, Co-Founder of TheDream.US. “With the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program, we hope to inspire colleges and universities to open their doors to all Dreamers, providing access to graduate programs and embracing the diversity of talent and perspectives they bring.”
“Thanks to the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program loan program, Pre-Health Dreamers participants do not have to find a U.S. Citizen co-signer or sign a contract with high-interest rates,” said Yadira Ortiz, Executive Director of Pre-Health Dreamers. “This is responsible lending. Participants are entering medical and dentistry programs with less weight on their shoulders, knowing they can count on this loan program to allow them to focus on their studies and become the health professionals our communities need.”
Since its inception, the program has been open to alumni of undergraduate scholarship programs, first from TheDream.US, and then it expanded to Equal Chance for Education and Golden Door Scholars. It has successfully supported the graduate education of 80 Dreamers, with a 100% graduation rate. Going forward, the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program will be accessible to any individual with DACA or TPS status who is enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree program at an eligible institution (spanning approximately 1,530 universities and institutions across the U.S. and encompassing a wide range of degrees, such as Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Law (JD), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPH), and Master of Engineering).
The Dreamers Graduate Loan Program is a private loan program managed by Social Finance in collaboration with Funding U, which serves as the loan originator responsible for managing the application process, and Launch Servicing LLC (a subsidiary of Goal Solutions) which serves as the loan servicer handling student repayments. UnidosUS is providing bilingual and culturally relevant financial coaching for all applicants of the loan program through its national Financial Empowerment Network.
Interested students can learn more about the program and apply for the 2023-24 academic year here.
Disclaimer: The information in this document is not an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or a recommendation or endorsement of any security or any issuer, or investment advice of any kind. It is provided for informational purposes only and is subject to change at any time.
About Social Finance
Social Finance is a national impact finance and advisory nonprofit. We work with the public, private, and social sectors to create partnerships and investments that measurably improve lives. Since our founding in 2011, we have mobilized $350 million in new investments designed to help people and communities realize improved outcomes in education, economic mobility, health, and housing. In addition to managing the investment program funded by the Google Career Certificates Fund, our economic mobility portfolio includes the UP Fund, place-based Pay It Forward Funds, and the Dreamers Graduate Loan Fund. Learn more at socialfinance.org.
Director of Media and Communications, Social Finance