Creating scholarship program for ‘Dreamers’ is a top priority for Arizona Gov. Hobbs

Feb 16, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 10:36 am

(Twitter Photo/@GriseldaZetino)...

(Twitter Photo/@GriseldaZetino)

(Twitter Photo/@GriseldaZetino)

PHOENIX — Undocumented students in Arizona could see their dream of going to college become a reality, thanks to a pledge by Gov. Katie Hobbs.

She wants to create the “Promise for Dreamers” scholarship program to help them pay for tuition at any of the state’s three public universities.

“It’s high on our list of priorities,” Hobbs said in a meeting with undocumented students and supporters on Wednesday.

The governor wants to allocate $40 million for the scholarship program, which is included in her budget and needs legislative approval.

To qualify, undocumented students would need to have attended an Arizona high school for at least two years.

Hobbs told the students this would “reward your hard work” and pave a path to higher education.

She added it’s also “right in line” with Arizona voters approving Proposition 308 last November. It allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at any of the state’s public universities and community colleges. It also makes them eligible for state financial aid.

Angel Palazuelos was among the students who met with Hobbs. He’s attending Arizona State University and recalled how difficult it was to find scholarships to help him pay for tuition prior to Prop 308 passing.

“I remember very vividly walking into my counselor’s office my freshmen year of high school and asking her, ‘Is it possible for me to go to college?’” Palazuelos said.

“I remember her just looking at me in awe and saying, ‘I don’t know how to help you.’”

Other students shared they were unable to continue their education after high school, because they didn’t qualify for in-state tuition and had to pay twice or triple the cost as their peers.

Hobbs encouraged the students to keep sharing their stories with lawmakers to persuade them to support the “Promise for Dreamers” scholarship program.

“Telling your stories and putting a face to this is so, so important,” she said.

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Creating scholarship program for ‘Dreamers’ is a top priority for Arizona Gov. Hobbs