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ASU Foundation receives $937K grant to support scholarship program for 'Dreamers'

Support for "DREAMers"

The Parsons Scholars program is designed to help deserving students have an opportunity to attend the university and enhance their opportunity for a successful future.

January 21, 2020

The ASU Foundation has been awarded a three-year, $937,000 grant from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation in support of 35 scholarships for students who are considered “Dreamers.”

These students are young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and are allowed to remain in the country if they meet certain criteria. Because of their circumstances, "DreamersThese students are commonly referred to as "Dreamers," based on a never-passed proposal in Congress called the DREAM Act." are unable to benefit from university or federal aid or work-study programs. Despite the fact that many of them have spent their entire lives in Arizona and graduated from local high schools, these students are required to pay 50% more than the standard in-state tuition. The grant will provide tuition assistance to cover that extra cost and establish the Parsons Scholars program, which will include financial literacy training and ongoing academic coaching.

“By no fault of their own, 'Dreamers' are starting their pursuit of higher education at a great disadvantage,” said businessman Bob Parsons. “America is a nation of immigrants, and it is our duty to step up and support those who are working hard to earn a better life for themselves and their families, no matter how they got here.”

Many of the Parsons Scholars come from low-income households and work to support themselves, and in many cases, their families. Most are first-generation college students and act as role models for their siblings and the greater community. Tuition gap funding provided to the Parsons Scholars will mitigate the risk of a "Dreamer" leaving school due to financial hardships.

“ASU has long supported 'Dreamers,' a position that is congruent with our unwavering commitment to providing access to all students who are qualified to attend the university, regardless of their background or circumstance,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Bob and Renee Parsons’ support will help more deserving students have an opportunity to attend the university and enhance their opportunity for a successful future.”

The program is also designed to prepare students for long-term success and encourages co-curricular activities, such as internships, to provide students with the skills and connections needed to enter their chosen career field. A capstone trip to Washington, D.C., will more broadly connect the Parsons Scholars to public policy and empower them to enact change. 

“It is our belief that everyone deserves access to quality education, and 'Dreamers' are no exception. In fact, they face more obstacles to obtaining a college degree than most of their peers,” said businesswoman Renee Parsons. “We are proud to support ASU’s commitment to making higher education a reality for all Arizona high school graduates.”

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers support to nonprofit organizations successfully working to empower, educate, nurture and nourish people during what is often the darkest time of their lives. Founded in 2012 by philanthropists and business leaders Bob and Renee Parsons to provide hope and life-changing assistance to the country’s most vulnerable populations, the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers critical funding at critical times to those in need. The foundation’s giving is driven by the core belief that all people — regardless of race, religion, roots, economic status, sexual orientation or gender identity — deserve access to quality health care, education and a safe place to call home. Follow @WeDealInHope on social media or visit to learn more about partner organizations and the important work being done in the community.

The ASU Foundation for A New American University is a private, nonprofit organization that raises and manages private contributions to support the work of ASU. It is one of five affiliated organizations that make up ASU Enterprise Partners, an innovative organizational model designed to generate resources to meet the needs of ASU.