The financial aid landscape for undocumented students is different for each state. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal aid, loans or work-study, all of which are programs financed by the U.S. government. However, there are various ways undocumented students can finance their education; the list below, pulled together from Alene Russell, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and United We Dream, tabulates statewide policy (if any) for in-state tuition at state schools in all 50 states. State policy regarding in-state tuition is dynamic, and although this table is accurate as of the date that it was posted, we encourage you to contact your state schools regarding any new legislative changes.
|Alabama||NO, via legislation in June 2011|
|Alaska||No statewide policy|
|Arizona||Some college systems enroll DACA recipients|
|Arkansas||No statewide policy|
|California||YES, via legislation|
|Delaware||No statewide policy|
|Georgia||NO, undocumented students banned from some state schools.|
|Hawaii||YES, and undocumented students are provided financial aid via SB 2163: http://immigrationimpact.com/2012/04/16/colorado-hawaii-and-delaware-progress-on-tuition-equity-for-undocumented-students/|
|Idaho||No statewide policy|
|Illinois||YES, via legislation|
|Indiana||No statewide policy|
|Iowa||No statewide policy|
|Kansas||YES, via legislation|
|Louisiana||No statewide policy|
|Maine||No statewide policy|
|Massachusetts||YES, for DACA students|
|Michigan||Some Michigan schools provide in-state tuition|
|Mississippi||No statewide policy|
|Missouri||Some DACA recipients may be able to pay in-state tuition at some schools|
|Montana||Statewide policy bans undocumented students, but public university system is not bound by initiative|
|New Hampshire||No statewide policy|
|New Jersey||YES, via legislation|
|New Mexico||YES, and undocumented students are eligible for state aid|
|New York||YES, via legislation|
|North Carolina||No statewide policy|
|North Dakota||No statewide policy|
|Ohio||DACA students allowed to pay in-state via Board of Regents|
|Oklahoma||YES, via legislation then Board of Regents|
|Pennsylvania||No statewide policy|
|Rhode Island||YES, via Board of Regents – student must have attended HS in the state for at least three year and graduated|
|South Carolina||NO. Undocumented students banned at all public schools.|
|South Dakota||No statewide policy|
|Tennessee||No statewide policy|
|Texas||YES, via legislation. Undocumented students eligible for state aid|
|Utah||YES, via legislation|
|Vermont||No statewide policy|
|Virginia||DACA recipients may be able to pay in-state at some schools|
|Washington||YES, via legislation|
|West Virginia||No statewide policy|
|Wyoming||No statewide policy|
Data sources include:
2) National Conference of State Legislatures
3) United We Dream
Although no undocumented students (including DACA students) are eligible for federal student aid, those with Social Security Numbers (through DACA) should still fill out the FAFSA as they may qualify for state or college aid, depending upon the state and the school. Many colleges will use this information to determine eligibility for their own need-based grants and scholarships. Also, in some states that require the FAFSA for certain tuition waivers, a paper FAFSA completed and processed with the college may ensure eligibility for some state programs.
Documents Necessary to Apply for Financial Aid
There are 4 documents that are necessary and sufficient to apply for financial aid (excluding federal aid).
1) Individual income tax forms of your legal guardians and yourself, if you are employed (usually Form1040, Form1040EZ, orForm1040NR).
2) Form W-2, which is usually requested in conjunction with the individual income tax form.
3) CSS Profile (if your school specifically asks for it). The CSS Profile gives select colleges and universities a very detailed look at students’ financial circumstances. It is more specific than the FAFSA, and includes space for students to elaborate on aspects of their financial circumstances not portrayed by other parts of the CSS Profile. If you feel that being undocumented has created unique challenges for your family, you may list these challenges in that section.
Image from www.collegeboard.org
4) Miscellaneous documents. Some institutions will ask for school-specific documents for undocumented applicants. This is because undocumented students apply to almost all colleges as “international students,” which requires various other documents that may ask for total income, assets, etc. separate from the individual income tax form. Furthermore, some schools may ask for pay-stubs from you or your parents. If your parents do not receive pay-stubs, you should ask the employer to write a letter as proof of employment, signed with the employer’s name and contact information.
Outside of the institutions you are applying to, there are a plethora of various external scholarships that may help you finance your education. The key to external scholarships is to apply to as many as you feel comfortable with. With the exception of several, most of these scholarships vary greatly in amount.
1) The first major scholarship available for undocumented students is administered each year by Questbridge (QB), which is a nonprofit organization that bridges highly performing students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Questbridge administers the National College Match (NCM) program each year, which essentially replaces the “Early Decision/Action” for students who choose to participate. Even if you are not matched with a school through the NCM, getting commended as a finalist will be a great asset to your application, as colleges and universities will know that you have succeeded despite economic disadvantage.
An overview of the NCM is explained by this diagram from the QB website.
2) After the QB scholarship, start with this database of over 200 external scholarships compiled by Harvard College’s Act on a Dream, an immigration advocacy group on campus.
3) The Mexican American Legal and Defense Fund (MALDEF) has compiled a list of scholarships that can be found here.
4) The following is a list of scholarships and scholarship databases compiled from various online sources, including the Act on a Dream College Access Program.
- Absolutely Scholarships
- Affinity Plus Foundation
- AIChE Minority Scholarship Award – American Institute of Chemical Engineers; 3 Park Avenue; New York, NY 10016
- American Association of Hispanic Accountants Scholarship Committee – 100 N. Main St.; PMB 406; San Antonio TX
- Aspira Association, Inc.
- The College Board
- College Connection Scholarshiphttp://www.collegescholarship.com
- Commission Femenil Scholarship – Attn: Ann Gonzalez; PO Box 86013; Los Angeles, CA 90031
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
- Dorothy Vandercook Peach Scholarship Grandmothers for Peace International Scholarship – 9444 Medstead Way; Elk Grove, CA 95758-1067
- Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
- Hispanic Outlook Scholarship Fund
- Hispanic Scholarship
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Justicia en Diversidad
- Latin American Professional Women’s Education – PO Box 31532; Los Angeles, CA 90031
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
- Migrant Farmworker Baccalaureate Scholarship – Geneseo Migrant Center; PO Box 549; Geneseo, NY 14553
- NAHP Presidential Classroom Scholars
- National High School Essay Contest – 1501 16th St. NW; Washington, DC 20036; Telephone number 202-387-2477
- National Peace Essay Contest
- Nursing Scholarships for Ethnic People of Color – 555 W. 57th St.; New York 10013
- PAACO Hispanic Student Athletic Scholarship – 5715 North Freeway; Houston, TX 77076; Telephone number 713-697-7600
- Papa John’s Scholarship
- Ruben Salazar Scholarship – National Association of Hispanic Journalists; Scholarship Committee; 1000 National Press Bldg.; Washington, DC 20045
- SAMMY Award
- Society of Exploration Geophysics Found. – PO Box 702740; Tulsa, OK 74170
- Stephen Phillip Memorial Scholarship – PO Box 871; Salem, MA Telephone number 978-744-2111
- The Ana Maria Arias Scholarship – Attn: Alma Rojas; 1725 K. St. NW, Suite 501; Washington, DC 20006
- Tylenol Undergraduate Scholarship
- Upward Bound U.S. – Department of Education Scholarship Coordinator Federal Student Aid; PO Box 84; Washington, DC 20044
- World Studio Foundation Scholarship
- Xerox Corporation
5) Finally, this document produced by the College Board may have useful information and resources for you regarding scholarships, financial aid, etc.