Help make college dreams a reality for Boston students!

College kids hands for scholarshipContribute to a scholarship for undocumented immigrants who’ve just graduated from city schools.

Thousands of immigrants attend Boston’s high schools. They work hard and have big dreams, but at graduation time, many face a huge obstacle: If they’re undocumented, they don’t qualify for federal financial aid, and if they enroll in a public college in Massachusetts, many will have to pay out-of-state tuition.

Nationwide, only about 3% of undocumented students finish college, mainly because of the cost. The Unafraid Scholarship was created by a group of teachers to help students from Boston Public Schools who’ve been accepted to college but aren’t eligible for federal financial aid.

Scholarship applications are submitted after students have been accepted and received their financial aid package. As part of the application, students create a financial plan for getting through college, with support from their guidance counselor. Applications are reviewed by Boston teachers, who provide feedback and support to help them successfully complete the application.

In our first two years, the Unafraid Scholarship awarded $90,000 in scholarships to more than three dozen students, including support from the Edelstein Family Fund that has now seeded a new Unafraid program in Lawrence. [Watch videos: Emma, Drina and Marlon] But we want to ensure that every one of the students we’ve invested in can complete their education, and we know that as word about the scholarship spreads, the number of applications is going to keep growing. Will you join us to bring – and keep – college within these talented young people’s reach?

Click here to help a talented immigrant student attend college this year!

I fled my country, El Salvador, due to absurd violence that my country is facing. People were killed just for wearing a new pair of shoes or because they lived in certain neighborhoods. I traveled alone beside 16 strangers all the way to Houston, Texas. Each of us shared one thing in common: we were coming to work in America to help the ones we left behind – for me, that was my mother and sister...

My father and I lived in a small apartment with strangers. One day I saw a younger boy packing a bag in the morning and asked where he was off to. “I go to school.” “To school? Why don’t you work and get money?” I asked. He answered, without hesitating, “I need to learn English. I don’t want to be a dishwasher forever.” I thought the only way to make money was in the kitchen. I repeated the boy’s words to my dad, telling him that I wanted to go to school...

School has changed my life. This past summer, I completed an internship at Harvard Medical School where I studied medical science. Afterwards, I was offered a research position within a neurobiology lab. I could not believe that a boy who once worked as a dishwasher – washing hundreds of plates and afraid of cutting his own fingers – was now at a Harvard laboratory using not only his hands but also his mind to contribute to the field of medical science. It is my hope that one day I’ll be ready to work, not in a kitchen restaurant, but instead in a hospital saving lives or in a lab developing a life-saving cure.

– I.H., incoming student at Pine Manor College

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