A smiling woman wearing a graduation cap and gown raises her arms in celebration beside a tree.

Graduate School Loan Helped Jackie Earn a Master’s in Social Work, Inspire Other Dreamers

Impact Investments, Education, Workforce & Economic Mobility

Jackie, who lives in Colorado, arrived in the U.S. from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with her family when she was a baby. She wanted to become a social worker, but like other Dreamers, she was ineligible for federal student loans. TheDream.US, a program that provides undergraduate scholarships to undocumented students, granted her a scholarship to attend Colorado State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college.

Jackie wanted to enroll in graduate school after finishing her undergraduate degree, but again she faced funding barriers due to her immigration status. That’s when TheDream.US directed her to the Dreamers Graduate Loan Program, a graduate school loan program for students with DACA and TPS status managed by Social Finance. Jackie was drawn to the program’s interest rates – she said that many other private lenders’ rates were much higher – but the supportive services also caught her eye. She decided to finance her graduate studies through the program.

In 2022, Jackie again graduated from Colorado State University, this time with a master’s degree in social work. She now works for a Colorado school district as a mental health counselor for students who recently emigrated from Spanish-speaking countries.

Jackie has found the graduate loan repayment process to be “straightforward and simple.” She appreciated that loan repayments didn’t begin until six months after she graduated, giving her time to adjust to her new financial situation.

In the future, Jackie hopes to return to graduate school for her doctorate. But today, she’s happy to work with students in her district. She said that she has worked to spread awareness of TheDream.US’s education funding programs, both to her peers and to her students. And she knows that her background and her education have enabled her to change her students’ lives. “Students, especially the ones that I work with, see themselves in me and know that this person who’s not from here, who has faced all these barriers, who’s a Dreamer… she was able to make it.”

Students, especially the ones that I work with, see themselves in me and know that this person who's not from here, who has faced all these barriers, who's a Dreamer… she was able to make it.Jackie, Dreamers Graduate Loan Recipient and School Counselor

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