TheDream.US and Social Finance Create First-of-its-Kind Loan Fund to Help Dreamers Attend Graduate School

September 23, 2021

New pilot will support Dreamers looking to achieve economic mobility

Washington and Boston—Today, TheDream.US and Social Finance announced a $100 million graduate school loan pilot program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients who want to pursue professional degrees but can’t access public loan programs due to their immigration statuses. 

Ninety-eight thousand Dreamers graduate from public K-12 schools each year, but they are virtually locked out of college. They can’t access Pell grants or federal student loans, and in 14 states, they’re ineligible for in-state tuition, paying three times or more than their peers.

This first-of-its-kind impact investment fund aims to provide loans to more than 1,500 TheDream.US scholarship recipients to help them achieve economic and social mobility. Through the fund, Dreamers can access loans with interest rates on par with those available to American citizens via the federal government’s Direct PLUS loan program. The program will help students finance professional degrees in fields like business, education, medicine, and law, enabling them to land well-paying jobs in sectors desperate for new talent and diverse perspectives.

“TheDream.US has paid for 7,500 Dreamers to go to college. But as with other college students, many of the brightest want to go to graduate school, and the absence of federal loans has made that impossible. Now we can help them. We are grateful to Social Finance, Funding U, and our other partners who have helped to create this unique program,” Donald Graham, Co-Founder of TheDream.US and Chairman of the Board at Graham Holdings Company, said.

“TheDream.US provides the resources and necessities for someone like myself to truly achieve their dreams. Thanks to the scholarship and loan program, I was able to obtain my bachelor’s in biomedical science and attend medical school,” Homero Coss, 23, currently enrolled at the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, said.

“We built this loan program with student outcomes at the center to ensure that Dreamers can prepare for professional occupations with meaningful advancement potential, while taking on a manageable level of debt,” Social Finance CEO and Co-Founder Tracy Palandjian said. “As an immigrant myself, I’m excited that we are helping driven young people achieve their own versions of the American Dream.” 

TheDream.US, a college access and success program for immigrant youth, will connect students to the loan program. Social Finance, an impact finance and advisory nonprofit, will raise the capital and manage the fund toward achieving optimal student outcomes. And Funding U, an education lending platform serving high-performing, underrepresented college students, will process the applications and originate the loans. A Student Bill of Rights underpins the program, ensuring Dreamers who participate have the right to financial education, transparency, privacy, and student-centric financing.  

“We are proud to have supported Dreamers’ opportunities for education, and are thrilled to be a part of this innovative new initiative to provide access to graduate education for dedicated, highly talented, and inspiring young people,” said Bill Ackman, Co-Trustee of the Pershing Square Foundation.

Graham and the Pershing Square Foundation provided grant equity and repayment guarantee for the program along with several other philanthropists and impact investors. The Ford Foundation provided grant funding to develop the program. 

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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 TheDream.US
TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college and career success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 7,500 college scholarships to Dreamers attending over 75 partner colleges in 19 states and Washington, DC. We believe that all young Americans, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to get a college education and pursue a meaningful career that contributes to our country’s future.

About Social Finance
Social Finance is a national impact finance and advisory nonprofit. By working with public, private, and social sectors, we create partnerships and investments to measurably improve lives. In the past decade, we have mobilized over $225 million to help more than 35,000 individuals realize improved outcomes in education, economic mobility, health, and housing. 

Contacts:
Gaby Pacheco, TheDream.US
202.445.7376
gaby.pacheco@thedream.us

Carrie Benjamin, Social Finance
857.340.6064
cbenjamin@socialfinance.org