Yakima Valley College scholarship program supports undocumented students pursing higher education

Yakima, Wash. – Yakima Valley College’s Beyond Dreaming Scholarship, now in its fifth year, provides assistance to DREAMer (undocumented) students with educational expenses and other supports while attending Yakima Valley College.

“Many students believe that their undocumented status will prevent them from attending college. These students may live in fear of being exposed and deported should they apply,” stated Beyond DREAM Scholarship Coordinator Marivy Vasquez. “It’s important for potential students to understand it is against the law for colleges to report a student’s immigration status without their permission.”

Many undocumented students also perceive college as cost-prohibitive because their status makes them ineligible for federal financial aid programs like FAFSA.

Programs like the Washington College Grant (WASFA) have expanded eligibility to include low-income, non-citizen students who meet the program’s eligibility and state residency requirements.

“While federal financial aid is not an option, there are many financial aid options including WASFA, the Beyond DREAMIng scholarships, and other grants and scholarships. All undocumented students who are committed to attending YVC and who fully comprehend the challenges to come can make their educational dreams a reality,” stated Vasquez.

Since starting the scholarship program in 2016, Yakima Valley College has been able to provide approximately 250 scholarships to students.

The scholarship program is making a difference in the lives of students like Itzel.

Itzel moved with her family to White Swan, Wash., from Mexico when she was 2 months old. She later moved to Yakima and graduated from Davis High School. Wanting to earn a college degree, she began attending YVC in 2011.

Initially interested in a nursing degree, Itzel later switched to medical assisting earning an associate of applied science degree in medical assisting. After working in the field for three years, she returned to YVC to expand her opportunities and pursue a degree in business.

“The Beyond Dreaming scholarship has helped me a lot can’t say it enough and anyone that can receive this scholarship should apply,” stated Itzel. “There’s no reason you can’t obtain a college degree when YVC has this scholarship available to help undocumented students believe they have a chance at obtaining a college degree and being somebody.”

She will graduate with her bachelor of applied science in business management this June. Her ultimate goal is to move to western Washington and work in marketing and hopes to eventually start her own business

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are being accepted now.

To be eligible for this scholarship, a college and/or high school student must have submitted the WASFA for the 2021-2022 academic year and must be planning to attend YVC in the fall, winter or spring quarter. This scholarship is available to students taking ten or more credits per quarter and can be used to cover the cost of tuition.

Apply for the Beyond Dreaming Scholarship. Deadline is May 31, 2021.

For more information: 509.574.4701 / mvasquez@yvcc.edu

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 / dwunderlich@yvcc.edu
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 / smenard@yvcc.edu