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Dream Fund Scholarship Date Pushed Back

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immigration rally

In this Saturday, March 10, 2012 photo, demonstrators hold signs during a rally for undocumented students at Daley Plaza in Chicago. The movement, which started a few years ago during the push for the Dream Act, now has thousands of members, and well organized networks in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

A program awarding scholarships to immigrant students in Illinois has pushed back the date it planned to give out the money. Scholarships were supposed to go out in April, but that was timeframe was moved to June 7 because of the large number of people who applied.

The Illinois Dream Fund offers financial aid to students who are living in the United States illegally or students living in the country legally who don't qualify for any type of federal student aid.

Tanya Cabrera, who oversees the Dream Fund, said she received 1,400 applications in the last several months, more than twice what she expected.

“It was just really overwhelming because we didn’t think we’d get that many applications, and now to have that turnout in a month was just unrealistic,” she said. “Each applicant is worthy, but we also have to understand how many can we give out.”

Cabrera said postponing the award date from the end of April to June will give the Dream Fund more time to raise additional scholarship money.

“Looking at the applications, and just hearing the stories of these students,” Cabrera explained. “You’re empowered to do more. The goal is to raise this money and make it happen for 100 plus if we can.”

Cabrera said the Dream Fund has raised more than a million dollars so far, but she said she would like to get to $5 million.

The program was set up by the Illinois Dream Act, which is a law that increases immigrant students’ access to college. However, scholarship money comes from private donations.