UCI Students are Dreaming Big with Dream Scholars


Alone, it’s only a dream. Together, dreams can become reality. Inclusivity and collaboration are at the heart of student success. That’s why the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (OVPTL) is excited to announce UCI Dream Scholars and Dream Scholars Plus. A collaboration between Student Success Initiatives (SSI) and the UCI DREAM Center, Dream Scholars is a new program for undocumented students.

Michael Dennin, the Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning at UCI said that “Inclusivity means including people from all walks of life. At UCI we serve a global community, and our students reflect that. Undocumented students are American in every way that counts, except on paper. We could provide them with the same opportunities for advancement as their peers but at UCI we don’t ignore our differences, we personalize support to fit the student.”

That’s where Dream Scholars steps in by personalizing student support and connecting students to the academic community and campus resources. This innovative program is designed to help first-year undocumented students successfully transition to university life. As UCI is already a leader in helping students achieve the American Dream, it follows that the Dream Scholars program will build on the university’s existing commitment to an inclusive community.

A growing part of our Anteater community is undocumented students. In order to meet students where they are, we need to understand the unique needs of this student population. Between 2012 and 2015 the number of undocumented students enrolled at the university grew from 142 students to 537 students. The number of undocumented students enrolled at UCI continues to grow with an estimated 700 more enrolled in the fall of 2017.

Dream Scholars Plus is a support program open to all undocumented undergraduate students on campus. Participants in the program are required to meet with the program coordinators and attend a workshop each quarter. By using programs like ScoreShare, the program coordinators are able to track the academic progress of participants and provide timely interventions when needed. Additional benefits of the programs include:

  •  One-on-One Advising
  • Peer Mentorship
  • I-Clicker Loan Program
  • Book Loan Program
  • LARC Scholarship
  • Discounted Printing

Dream Scholars and Dream Scholars Plus received over 150 applications and accepted 84 students. The high volume of applications is indicative of the students’ need to engage the campus community and access academic support services.

Collaboration builds community, which is why the collaboration of SSI and the UCI DREAM Center supports Pillar 3 of the UCI Strategic Plan. Pillar 3 states that “a core mission of UCI is service to the community. Effective service requires deeply inclusive community engagement – the exchange of information, ideas, and resources – to benefit both the university and the community.”

Through interactive sessions, students will gain an understanding of campus resources, identify their academic goals, and begin building a community of support with other first-year undocumented students. Dream Scholars is a 1.3 unit course that meets weekly throughout the entire academic year. The course is led by Ana Miriam Barragan, Assistant Director of the DREAM Center, and Valerie Gomez, Transfer Counselor/Coordinator within SSI.

For more information about the programs, visit http://ssi.uci.edu/dreamscholars/