• Pupusas for Education

    Providing last dollar scholarships for undocumented and DACAmented students (of any background, ethnicity or race) that are pursuing higher education.


    How do we do it? Through pupusas: the most delicious social justice you've ever been served and your help! Check out our food truck and catering company partner, So Good Pupusas, or donate to promote higher education.

  • Learn about Pupusas for Education's motivations in our mission, vision, values, and goals.

    Our Mission

    To close the opportunity gap in access and affordability to higher education for undocumented and DACAmented students in Orange, Durham and Wake counties in North Carolina.

    Our Vision

    • To be a starting resource for undocumented and DACAmented high school students interested in learning more about and pursuing higher education, as well as providing funding and connections that help them reach their post high school graduation goals.

    Our Values

    Community | Collective | Self-Determination

    Collaboration | Unapologetic | Empowerment | Allyship

    Our Goals

    • To connect scholars to the larger community professionally and socially.
    • To build and expand resources for scholars and answer their questions that relate to and/or impact their journey in higher education.
    • To empower and provide sustainable, continued support for scholars in their journey in higher education.
    • To stay up to date with policy and procedure in applying for college/financial aid.
    • To affirm and encourage students' self-determination.
    • To be knowledgeable on the landscape of programs, initiatives, and services for undocumented students.
  • We started as a last-dollar scholarship fund and are growing into a more comprehensive program thanks to grants, additional funding, and your support.

    Last-Dollar Scholarships

    Bridging the gap to get more undocumented students through to their first year of higher education, and ultimately graduation.

    Enrichment Opportunities

    Providing opportunities for our scholars to develop and grow through working on their passions.

    For Students,

    By Students

    Heavily run by undergraduates and high school volunteers, serving the same communities through a near-peer model.

  • We could not do this work without those who believe in us and the power of community.

    Help us propel our work into the future!

  • Spring 2016 marked the launch of our scholarship application and our inaugural class of scholars. Each year, we work with two new scholars to provide scholarships, nurture their passions, and empower them through graduation.

    Keren F.

    First Year at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC

    2018 Scholar

    Keren moved to the United States from El Salvador in 2014. She says that coming and having to adjust to a new country, language, and school as a teenager has probably been the hardest challenge she has encountered in her life so far. Although there have been many difficulties, she is proud to say that she has grown from a scared young girl who did not know how to ask for her schedule her first day of high school to a strong young woman who now is able to help other students with similar backgrounds. Despite the criticisms and frustrations, and with the support of her family, friends, and teachers, she has managed to stay strong and see the positive aspects of her immigrant experience, in particular the importance of resilience and hard work. In the future, she hopes her story serves as an inspiration not only for immigrants, but anybody who needs motivation. She is also very excited to be part of a program with a beautiful mission, and that also makes one of the things that she, as a good Salvadorian, loves the most... Pupusas!

    Alina S.

    First Year at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC

    2018 Scholar

    Alina will be attending Guilford College thanks to the help of the scholarship Pupusas for Education granted me. She plans on doubling my major in both exercise science and public health. Hopefully, in the near future she will also obtain her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy. Alina says, "I am more than an undocumented student from Mexico. I am an indigenous descendent from the Otomi Tribe that once inhabited the grounds of Mexico." She hopes to one day go back to reunite with my family as well as give back to them for all the love, support, and aid they continue to give her.

    Laura S.

    Sophomore at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC

    2017 Scholar

    Laura is a first year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she hopes to major in political science and minor in Spanish. Originally from Mexico, Laura has lived in the North Carolina since she was three years old, enough to call this country her home. Thanks to private scholarships, including Pupusas 4 Education, Laura has been able to pursue her dream to attend college. Were it not for these scholarships and generous donors, she and her family would not have been able to provide the funds necessary for her to enroll at Carolina. She is very thankful and very excited to be a part of the Tar Heel community. Go Heels!

    Alfredo M.

    Sophomore at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, NC

    2017 Scholar

    Alfredo is a DACA student from the state of Michoacán, Mexico. He is currently majoring in Political Science at Wake Tech Community College, but plans to transfer to Pace University and pursue his dream of becoming a professional actor. Alfredo is an alumni of the NC Governor School, which he attended in 2016 as a Theatre student. He loves his family and his community, and hopes to give back to them for all of the support he has received throughout the past few years.

    Maria P.

    Junior at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC

    2016 Scholar

    Maria is a sophomore at Guilford College, double majoring in Public Health and Sociology/Anthropology with a minor in Spanish. She serves as the secretary for the student organization, Hispanos Unidos De Guilford. Maria has also participated as a group leader for a yearly conference aimed to help undocumented students go to a college called Soy Un Lider. She has also established herself as a student leader on campus by serving as a co-coordinator of a student mentorship program called Aspiring Leader Achieving Success. Maria is very passionate about serving her Latinx community outside of Guilford and is, therefore, a community scholar. She eventually aspires to bring her knowledge outside of the classroom to bring awareness about mental health and sexual health to her Latinx community.

  • Apply for our Scholarship!

    Our scholarship is exclusively for undocumented high school seniors who have applied and been accepted to a 2- or 4-year university, or accredited associates or certification program. Our scholarship is open to undocumented students of any background, ethnicity, race, etc.


    We currently offer two (2) one-thousand dollar scholarships ($1,000) to undocumented high school seniors. This scholarship can be renewed every year following if eligibility requirements are met.


    Our ultimate goal of providing scholarships stems from our passion for pupusas and our experience as immigrants in the United States. Our search for better futures and "The American Dream" led us to the United States from El Salvador, and from California to North Carolina.


    Our founders and have been greatly impacted by affordable higher education; in particular the Covenant Scholars program at UNC and the Morehead-Cain scholarship. An affordable education can change any students' life and because of the blessings we have received, we believe in paying it forward: in pupusas and scholarships!


    Applications for high school seniors graduating in 2018 is NOW CLOSED. Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated for next year's scholarship application.

  • You got into college, you deserve to go.

    Undocumented students earn their way into some of the best colleges across the country. Inability to pay due to lack of financial aid is an educational inequity we are tackling head on by providing last-dollar scholarships for undocumented students to attend college. Higher education and scholarships to access it have played a key role in my life and the lives of those on the Pupusas for Education team. We hope to play a key role in yours.

    Jessica Mencia

    Scholarship Co-Director

    Jessica is currently a student at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Public Policy with minors in Women and Genders Studies and Latinx Studies. She joined Pupusas for Education in 2017 because of her passion for lifting up others in the Latinx community and her belief that education should be accessible to all. Jessica has enjoyed connecting with both scholars and her fellow team members through culture and empowering each other to be the best versions of themselves. As a Honduran-American, Jessica is also very proud to contribute to the Central American community and celebrate her roots through her activism. Her favorite pupusa is bean and cheese with lots of salsa!

    Marcella Pansini

    Executive Director

    Marcella is currently a student at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Public Policy and Business Administration. She joined the Pupusas for Education team in 2017 because she believes in putting the private sector to work for the public good in order to bring educational equality to all. Marcella has enjoyed getting to know the amazing Pupusas for Education team and all of the incredibly motivated and accomplished scholars. As a Peruvian-American, Marcella is excited to use her background and culture to help future generations of students achieve their dreams. Her favorite pupusa is Chicharon with a cold glass of Horchata!

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