NAU Offering Illegal Immigrant Scholarships Through Leftist Dark Money Program

NAU Offering Illegal Immigrant Scholarships Through Leftist Dark Money Program

By Corinne Murdock |

Northern Arizona University (NAU) will offer illegal immigrant scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year — even if they’re eligible for deportation. NAU partnered with TheDream.US, a scholarship program fund operated by the New Venture Fund: one nonprofit arm of the leading leftist dark money networks, Arabella Advisors.

The scholarships aren’t exclusively earmarked for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. Any illegal immigrant that came to the U.S. before the age of 16 and before 2017 may apply for these scholarships.

In a statement, NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera said that the scholarships aligned with their university’s goal to make higher education accessible to all students. Rivera credited the passage of Proposition 308 for affirming this move.

“Through this partnership, NAU will further the will of the people of Arizona as expressed in the passage of Proposition 308, which affords Arizona Dreamers with in-state tuition and provides an invaluable pathway to upward economic mobility and social impact,” said Rivera.

Arizona State University (ASU), Benedictine University, and Grand Canyon University (GCU) also partner with TheDream.US. 

Prop 308 awards in-state college tuition to Dreamers; voters approved the measure narrowly, 51 to 49 percent. The proposition was backed by at least $1.2 million of out-of-state dark money networks.

TheDream.US reports that at least 1.3 million illegal immigrant youth are eligible for DACA. Of the approximately 98,000 who graduate from high school each year, the program estimated that only five to 10 percent (65,000 to 130,000) enroll in college on average. 

Per AZ Free News past reporting, New Venture Fund (NVF) has initiatives outside of immigration reform advocacy. NVF launched the Fair Elections Center, which is behind the progressive elections reform activist project, Campus Vote Project (CVP). 

In October, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, now governor-elect, selected CVP Vice Chair Anusha Natarajan for the 2022 John Lewis Youth Leadership Award: a Barretts Honors College student, Andrew Goodman Fellow, and digital producer for the student newspaper at Arizona State University (ASU).

In 2020, Oscar Hernandez Ortiz — a DACA and TheDream.US scholarship recipient, strategist with the Arizona Bar Foundation, former fifth-grade teacher, Greater Phoenix Economic Council member, ASU graduate, former state legislature policy intern, and Arizona Department of Education Latinx Advisory Council member — wrote an Arizona Republic op-ed attacking the Trump administration’s efforts to end DACA. While at ASU, Ortiz founded the Undocumented Students for Education Equity, a resource hub for illegal immigrants. 

NAU isn’t the only partner school for TheDream.US. The program lists over 80 “Partner Colleges.” 

TheDream.US offers two scholarship types: the National Scholarship, which the program suggests for Arizona applicants, offers up to $16,500 for an associate degree and $33,000 for a bachelor’s degree; and the Opportunity Scholarship, which offers up to $80,000 for a bachelor’s degree to illegal immigrant students located in states without access to college because they either must pay out-of-state tuition or can’t gain admission to state universities. Applications close Feb. 28.

(Note: TheDream.US removed award amounts from its National Scholarship page earlier this year).

TheDream.US founders are: Don Graham, chairman of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post), former director of Facebook, and former member of the Pulitzer Prize Board; Carlos Guitierrez, chairman and CEO of Empath, former chairman and CEO of Kellogg’s, and former Secretary of Commerce for the Bush administration; and Henry R. Muñoz III, former finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee.

Among senior staff at TheDream.US: its president Candy Marshall, the former chief human resources officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; director Maria Gabriela Pacheco, who immigrated illegally to the U.S. as a child; communications manager Sadhana Singh, a recipient of DACA and a TheDream.US scholarship; program manager Melanny Buitron, a DACA recipient; data manager, and Camila Salkhov, a Dreamer.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Pima County Supplies UArizona Fraternities With Fentanyl Overdose Kits

Pima County Supplies UArizona Fraternities With Fentanyl Overdose Kits

By Corinne Murdock |

Fentanyl overdose kits are the latest among necessary school supplies for University of Arizona (UArizona) students.

Amid the burgeoning fentanyl crisis, Pima County supplied all 15 of the UArizona fraternity houses with fentanyl overdose treatment kits for the upcoming semester. 

The county supplied the houses with Narcan kits as part of a year-long drive initiated by one of their Community Mental Health and Addiction interns, Aiden Pettit-Miller. UArizona’s Emergency Medical Services team and Interfraternity Council (IFC) also assisted.

Miller, a senior student at UArizona, says he launched the initiative after one of his high school friend’s roommates at Arizona State University (ASU) overdosed on fentanyl in 2020. 

Narcan is the brand name for the medicine naloxone, and is also used to treat overdosing from other opioids: heroin, oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, and morphine. First responders rely on the treatment for suspected overdosing. 

The Arizona Department of Health reports over 1,400 opioid deaths so far this year. AZDHS folds fentanyl-related deaths into the “RX/Synthetic” category, which includes “all other opioids” except heroin, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. This year, the number of RX/Synthetic deaths is nearly 1,400 (97 percent). 

In 2021, there were over 2,000 opioid deaths; just over 1,900 (94 percent) of deaths were RX/Synthetic. The fatality rate per 100,000 population dropped this year from 28 percent to 20 percent.

Amid the border crisis ushered in by the Biden administration, fentanyl deaths arose as the leading cause of death among adults aged 18 to 45 years old. 

Teens accounted for 77 percent of adolescent overdose deaths last year. The demographic spike correlated with efforts by cartels to ply youth with the deadly drug, such as “rainbow fentanyl.”

Fentanyl became the subject of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) first public safety alert in six years, issued last September. As part of their campaign to raise awareness about the deadliness of fentanyl, “One Pill Can Kill,” the DEA discovered that about 60 percent of fake prescription pills contain lethal doses of fentanyl. The discovery marked an increase from the 2021 average of 40 percent. 

These fake pills are marketed and disguised to appear legitimate via social media and e-commerce platforms.

On college campuses like UArizona, victims of fentanyl overdosing range widely. The partygoer looking for a high and the student looking for extra focus are at equal risk. UArizona, along with ASU, ranks consistently as one of the top party schools in the nation, and Adderall is a popular go-to for students studying for exams or finishing hefty assignments. Both popular party drugs and study boosters may be obtained illicitly, and both are likely to contain deadly doses of fentanyl.

UArizona is also looking to create an organization called “Fraternities Fighting Fentanyl” with their School of Public Health, the fraternities, and the student-run emergency medical service. The organization will hand out fentanyl test strips, Narcan, and educational pieces to students.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

NAU Offering Illegal Immigrant Scholarships Through Leftist Dark Money Program

NAU Launches $2K ESG Climate Change Certification Program

By Corinne Murdock |

Northern Arizona University (NAU) launched a climate change program geared toward a career focused on corporations’ Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) scoring. The program spans four courses, each costing $500 — $2,000 total. 

NAU announced the online, non-credit certificate program last week. The courses will prepare students for greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting. GHG is a key part of ESG. 

“[This will] help working professionals gain the skills needed to address climate change at the corporate or organizational level,” stated the press release.

In the program, students will quantify the greenhouse gas emissions from individual products or commodities, business or corporation operations, and local communities. Then, the students will propose and defend emission management, reduction, and mitigation strategies. 

NAU explained in its course description of the program that most large corporations were expanding GHG accounting hires at a rapidly multiplying pace. 

“Companies see aggressive emission reduction goals as good for business and a way to market themselves as climate-friendly. However, companies cannot manage what they don’t measure. Therefore, the need for skilled GHG accountants is growing exponentially,” stated NAU.

The university also pointed out that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule change in March requiring all publicly traded companies to report their climate-related finance risk. 

The SEC rule would require companies to include these ESG findings in their registration statements and periodic reports. This would include governance and risk management processes of climate-related risks; the potential or current material impact of climate-related risks; the potential or current strategy, business model, and outlook impact of climate-related risks; and the impact of climate-related events on financials. It would also require disclosures of a GHG emissions target or goal, and GHG emissions from purchased electricity (or other energy forms) as well as upstream and downstream activities in its value chain.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler declared that mandatory ESG disclosure would better serve investors’ decision-making and hold corporations accountable. 

“I believe the SEC has a role to play when there’s this level of demand for consistent and comparable information that may affect financial performance,” said Gensler.

The timing of this course is significant, given that state leaders such as Treasurer Kimberly Yee oppose ESG. In September, Yee modified the state’s investment rules to prevent ESG ratings from investment considerations. 

NAU sustainability professor Deborah Huntzinger stated that environmental policymaking required quantifiable data that ESG approaches like GHG accounting offer. Huntzinger and NAU Online director of continuing education Brenda Sipe created the new GHG accounting program. 

“To design effective policies, whether at the corporate or national level, to mitigate rising emissions and human-driven climate change, we need to accurately track emissions,” stated Huntzinger. “Robust training in the best practices in GHG accounting will lead to a more educated workforce that can better inform corporate, organizational, community and national discussions about effective climate change mitigation strategies.”

Along with Huntzinger, carbon analyst Heather Aaron will teach the courses. 

The World Economic Forum (WEF), the globalist lobbying organization that serves as a pioneer for ESG scoring systems, identifies GHG accounting as a critical component of ESG. In a July publication, the WEF issued guidelines advising that GHG was key to quantifying the “carbon value” of corporations. 

The WEF, along with numerous powerful corporations and advocates of progressive reforms like ESG such as George Soros, BlackRock, Vanguard, JP Morgan Chase, Amazon, General Motors, the Sierra Club, issued comments or engaged in meetings with the SEC in support of the ESG mandate (though many offered suggestions for improvement).

NAU will also offer its GHG program at the graduate level, requiring students to complete a minimum of 12 credit hours. The regular course commences on Jan. 30 and remains open for six months of access.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

High Demand For Skilled Labor Turns Focus To Non-College Education Options

High Demand For Skilled Labor Turns Focus To Non-College Education Options

By Terri Jo Neff |

In the last year, Arizona has added nearly 15,000 manufacturing jobs. But the demand for skilled workers to fill those jobs along with thousands of others across the state which require specialized training is drawing attention to the importance of ensuring students have access to trade or vocational schools.

The Imagine America Foundation (IAF) is focused on promoting the value of specialized career education and helping students get the hands-on training they need. One category the IAF concentrates on is the skilled trades, which includes a variety of occupations running the gamut from production, installation, maintenance, and repair.

“Because the world runs on machines and energy, those able to service them will always be in demand,” according to a recent IAF report titled Pandemic-Proof Careers in Skilled Trades. “Through economic downturns, pandemics, or other natural disasters, keeping these pieces moving will always be crucial to keeping society moving.”

The growth in demand for skilled trade jobs across Arizona is being powered by emerging technologies, a concerted effort by Gov. Doug Ducey to attract certain industries, and an aging workforce set to retire in the next few years.

“For young people deciding on a career or those looking to make a career change that better aligns with the stability, demand, flexibility, and ROI they seek, this growth comes at the perfect time,” the IAF report notes.

IAE recently highlighted several “hot emerging skilled trades” which can offer a more pandemic-proof career. Those jobs include:

  • Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanic / technician
  • Electrician
  • Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanic / installer
  • Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician
  • Industrial machinery mechanic, machinery maintenance, or millwright
  • Machinist or tool and die maker
  • Medical equipment repairer
  • Solar photovoltaic installer
  • Welder
  • Wind turbine service technician

Scholarships and other tuition assistance for vocational and trade schools has also become more common in the last few years, with the Arizona Community Foundation leading the way away from a college-only mindset.

That example is now being followed by one of Cochise County’s largest employers, which has created a new scholarship for high school seniors interested in obtaining the training needed for a skilled trade job.

The program announced last month by Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) Foundation will award $4,000 to five students who plan to attend a trade school, skilled job training program, or apprentice program in 2023 instead of seeking a traditional higher education degree.

“Our Directors recognized the importance of encouraging, and providing resources, to students who plan to attend a trade school or certified program rather than a degree from a college or university,” said Marcus Harston, SSVEC’s Community Relations Manager.

More information on the SSVEC Foundation Trade Scholarship Program is available here.

Some companies across Arizona are getting even more involved in training the new employees they need. Several, including Boeing and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., are now working directly with educational institutions to ensure a quality workforce.

For instance, Gulfstream has partnered with Arizona State University and Chandler-Gilbert Community College to turn out maintenance specialists for the company’s fleet of luxury jets.

In addition, the Governor’s Office recently featured Prescott-based CP Technologies which has joined forces with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Yavapai College to train and hire upwards of 200 employees.

Another example is battery manufacturer KORE Power, which is working with Rio Salado College and West-MEC to facilitate training for the advanced manufacturing workers needed at the company’s Buckeye facility.

And Boeing has partnered with Mesa Community College to offer a boot camp for students interested in various electrical wiring technician jobs. Since 2019, more than 350 students have graduated from the boot camp with over 200 getting hired at Boeing, according to the Governor’s Office.

Terri Jo Neff is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or send her news tips here.

ASU, NAU, UArizona Presidents Salaries, Bonuses Total Over $2.4 Million

ASU, NAU, UArizona Presidents Salaries, Bonuses Total Over $2.4 Million

By Corinne Murdock |

Last week, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) approved over $2.4 million in salaries and bonuses for all three presidents of the state’s public universities — making them among the highest paid public employees in the state.

Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow received a pay raise of over $38,500, bringing his base salary to over $809,800, as well as a $90,000 bonus. Crow also receives perks: housing, a vehicle allowance, and retirement contributions. ABOR extended his contract through June 2027. 

Northern Arizona University (NAU) President José Luis Cruz Rivera received the largest pay raise of $61,800, bringing his base salary to $576,800, as well as a $75,000 bonus. ABOR extended his contract through June 2025. 

University of Arizona (UArizona) President Robert Robbins received a pay raise of over $37,700, bringing his base salary to over $792,200. Robbins also received a $75,000 bonus. ABOR extended his contract through June 2025 as well. 

The three presidents’ bonuses were contingent on the achievement of various at-risk goals. 

Crow met all three at-risk goals: a strategy to address educational gaps in the state, a plan for the launch of at least one of the five Future Science and Technology Centers in the Fulton Schools of Engineering, and clarifying and documenting the expectations for relationships among ASU’s Teaching, Learning, and Knowledge Enterprises.

For Crow, an additional $150,000 in at-risk compensation goals were proposed for next year, each worth $50,000 if met: design and launch a premium brand for ASU online; develop and launch a plan to move the three core brands of the W.P. Carey School of Business, the Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the Barrett Honors College into three global brands; and design and launch a new Health Futures Strategy that includes a holistic approach around health sciences and launch preparations for the Public Health Technology School. 

Crow also has five at-risk compensation goals through 2024 worth an additional $160,000. These goals will require Crow to demonstrate increased enrollment and student success in adaptive learning courses by offering over 15 courses, with an increase in overall course completion to over 80 percent; increase enrollment of Arizona students and number of graduates by over 10 percent; complete the design of the Global Futures Library with engagement of over 700 faculty members, as well as merge the three schools of the College of Global Futures; build and document enhanced regional collaboration in research; and demonstrate substantial expansion of ASU Digital Prep to at least 150 in-state schools, predominantly rural and underperforming schools.

Cruz Rivera also had three at-risk goals, which he met: a leadership team for NAU, restructured pricing and financial aid along with marketing and recruiting, and a set of goals and objectives to rebrand NAU.

For the upcoming year, Cruz Rivera has $135,000 in at-risk compensation goals aligned with the rebranding and restructuring efforts at NAU, each worth $45,000. Cruz Rivera must develop and implement a “New NAU System” to encompass in-person, online, and hybrid learning modalities, branch campuses, community college partnerships, and engagement with the state’s K-12 system. Cruz Rivera must also transform NAU Online, as well as increase enrollments and enhance career preparation opportunities.

Through 2024, Cruz Rivera is tasked with $120,000 in at-risk compensation goals, each worth $30,000. Cruz Rivera must expand the number of students from working-class families, increase overall graduation rates, and narrow completion gaps for working-class, first-generation, and minority groups; expand the Allied Health Programs and traditional NAU programs into Maricopa, Pima, and Yuma counties as well as distributed learning centers outside these three counties; and increase NAU profile, visibility, and programs for both Latino and Native American communities throughout the state and nationwide.

Robbins also met his three at-risk goals for this year: a new budget model that reduced college and department overhead costs by at least $10 million, a strategy to raise attainment in southern Arizona, and progress toward creating a Center for Advanced Immunology at the PBC.

In the coming year, Robbins faces $135,000 in at-risk compensation goals: secure at least $200 million in initial funding commitment from the state, local government, or private donors by next June for the Center for Advanced Molecular Immunotherapies; develop a plan to centralize responsibility and balance local authority in the university-wide administrative functional areas of Information Technology and Financial and Business Services by next June; and complete the transition of the UArizona Global Campus as an affiliated partner to its final stage under the full authority and oversight of UArizona by next June. 

Then, Robbins faces $120,000 in at-risk compensation goals through the end of 2024: increasing retention by 85.5 percent; leveraging the Washington office of UArizona to increase federal research funding by 10 percent; progressing toward enhancing student experience and outcomes of the UArizona Global Campus; implementing an Information Technology security governance framework; and coordinating a collaborative relationship with ASU and NAU that raises the research potential of the UArizona College of Medicine Phoenix. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Mom Who Fought For Arizona’s Universal School Choice Named Its Executive Director

Mom Who Fought For Arizona’s Universal School Choice Named Its Executive Director

By Corinne Murdock |

One mother who fought to defend universal school choice in Arizona will serve as its executive director.

On Thursday, Christine Accurso announced that Superintendent-elect Tom Horne asked her to serve as the executive director for the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program. Accurso, a beneficiary of the ESA Program, said that she would do everything in her power to protect school choice.

“Families deserve educational choice to help shape and mold the futures of their precious children,” stated Accurso.

Accurso led the Decline to Sign movement, which opposed Save Our Schools Arizona’s (SOSAZ) ballot initiative earlier this year to overturn universal school choice. 

Not only has Accurso been an advocate for expanding school choice, she’s been a watchdog for the movement.

Accurso discovered that SOSAZ far overestimated their signature numbers when they turned in their signature sheets for the ballot initiative. She raised awareness of the signature shortage, urging the secretary of state’s office to expedite verification of the signature count rather than waiting the 20-day period allowed by state law. Several days after Accurso and other parents petitioned the secretary of state’s office, they confirmed that the petition lacked enough signatures. 

Accurso also publicized recent issues with the ESA Program helpline as parents attempted to join the newly-expanded program. The phone line was busy nonstop, and would hang up on parents without the promise of a call back or an option to leave a message. 

School choice was one of the issues that defined the midterm election. Where some Republicans lost in other contested races by thousands of votes or continue to await final ballot batches to determine the winner, Horne prevailed.

Horne managed a victory over Democratic incumbent Kathy Hoffman, earning 50 percent of the vote to Hoffman’s 49 percent — just over 9,300 votes. 

Hoffman conceded on Thursday, shortly before Horne tapped Accurso to lead the ESA Program. 

Horne ran against Critical Race Theory (CRT), ethnic studies, and bilingual rather than immersive education. Horne advocated for in-person learning, standardized testing for graduating seniors, state takeover of failing schools, and full in-state scholarships for those who exceed state testing.

Hoffman ran against school choice expansion and bans on CRT tenets in education. She advocated for reducing class sizes, increasing teacher pay, increasing mental health funds for students, and increasing internet access for students.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to