“I never knew what being undocumented truly meant until I realized that I couldn’t apply for student aid.”

I had many setbacks applying for college due to my status, but eventually enrolled at Mesa Community College (MCC) and paid for my education by working construction and cleaning houses.

My family came to the United States in 2011, but in 2014 my father was arrested and deported. My family still suffers with this.

When I received my DACA status, a weight was lifted. It protects me from deportation and I can go to school now, without being scared.

I need to speak for those who can’t. That’s why I’m an officer in the DACA Club and travelled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the Dream Act. If I’m able to inspire just one person, I can start a domino effect of positivity.

Celeste is earning her associate’s degree in business at MCC and hopes to one day start her own cosmetic line.

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation established the Hope Scholarship to help students who have to pay out-of-state tuition, like DACA students, as enrollment has declined due to increased tuition rates of 284%. This has caused a significant decline in DACA student enrollment. To date, the Hope Scholarship along with other scholarships have awarded $121,864 and has helped more than 100 DACA students keep their dream alive.