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