Scholarships for Undocumented Students 

Introduction: Scholarships for Undocumented Students

At the time of this report conducted last April, undocumented students made up approximately 2% of all students enrolled in the US higher education system. By the numbers, this comes out to over 450,000 students.

Because undocumented and DACA students are not eligible to file the FAFSA or receive any sort of federal aid. Depending on your state of residence within the US, however, you may be able to secure in-state tuition rates or state-based financial aid.

Specific State Allowances and Restrictions for Undocumented Students

According to NCSL, as of 2019, 17 states allowed undocumented students to have access to in-state tuition rates. Those states include:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington

Also as of 2019, 7 states allowed undocumented students to be eligible to receive state-based financial aid:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Washington

Here are the states that prohibit undocumented students from...

accessing in-state tuition rates:

  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Indiana

enrolling in any postsecondary public institution:

  • Alabama
  • South Carolina

 

Ultimately, the amount of latitude varies from state to state in terms of how much assistance you can receive through being eligible for grants and other forms of financial aid.

One solution to attempt to make up for the lack of federal aid?

Applying for scholarships!

While applying for scholarships is a part of most students' financial plans, this is in some ways a crucial aspect of the paying-for-college plan for undocumented students for the reasons outlined above.

So, without further ado, here is my list of nearly thirty great scholarships for undocumented students.

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Scholarships for Undocumented Students

  • Amount: up to $13,000

    Deadline: January 8

    Details:  GSBA awards educational scholarships to LGBTQ and allied undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to making a difference in the world. 

  • Amount: $6,000

    Deadline: January 30

    Details: eQuality Scholarships for high school graduates recognize graduating high school seniors and recent graduates in northern and central California students for their service to the LGBTQ community. Applicants must plan to attend or have begun attending an accredited post-secondary institution for the first time in the award year.

  • Amount: $10,000

    Deadline: January 31

    Details: All currently enrolled college freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who are working to improve community health and wellness are eligible to apply. No minimum GPA, although 3.0 or higher is preferred. 

  • Amount: up to $20,000

    Deadline: February 4

    Details:  Ascend Educational Fund awards scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to immigrant students and children of immigrants who are graduating from a New York City high school to attend public or private colleges and universities, regardless of ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. 

  • Amount: $3,000

    Deadline: February 19

    Details:  As a PCF scholar, you will be paired with a mentor through your college career, required to attend college and career workshops, and you will receive internship support. Minimum 2.8 GPA, must be a first-generation college student. 

  • Amount: $10,000

    Deadline: February 20

    Details: Three scholarships (one $10,000; two $5,000) will be awarded to graduating U.S. high school students who promoted vegetarianism (includes veganism) in their schools and/or communities. 

  • Amount: up to $37,000

    Deadline: February 25

    Details: We think of our National Scholarship as the “Pell Grant” for highly motivated DREAMers with significant, unmet financial need. While we consider your GPA and test scores, we place great emphasis on your demonstrated commitment to community service and your ability to overcome the barriers and challenges that DREAMers face each and every day. Minimum 2.5 GPA.

  • Amount: $1,000

    Deadline: February 26

    Details: The Red Thread Scholarship is available to college-bound women of international backgrounds who will be entering an American college or university in the coming fall.

  • Amount: $3,750

    Deadline: February 26

    Details:  Twenty awards will be given to graduate and Ph.D. students. Must have a minimum of 3.2 GPA and MUST major in a field of study that has an emphasis in advertising, marketing, or public relations.

  • Amount: $5,000

    Deadline: February 28

    Details: The Pursuit of Excellence scholarship program is a local program focused on high school seniors and community college transfers for whom additional funds can be the tipping point in allowing them to attend a four-year college. Scholarship recipients typically have challenging backgrounds and are determined to go to college. 

  • Amount: N/A

    Deadline: March 2

    Details: The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident students (U.S. Citizens and eligible non-citizens) who qualify for a non-resident exemption under Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) to receive certain types of financial aid such as private scholarships funded through public universities, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants.

    In addition, the California Dream Act, allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition at any public college in California.

  • Amount: $30,000

    Deadline: March 5

    Details: The purpose of The McConnell Foundation Scholars Program is to identify and support students qualified to bring about positive change in their communities. Ideal candidates are high-achieving students, are among the first generation in their family to attend college, have overcome personal challenges, have positive influence on younger siblings or community members, and demonstrate commitment to the values of giving back and caring for others. 

  • Amount: $12,000

    Deadline: March 6

    Details: For graduating high school students of a school in the Sequoia Union High School District or East Side College Preparatory in East Palo Alto, Calif. Must have demonstrated activities or community involvement in social justice efforts that address immigrant issues. Minimum 2.5 GPA.

  • Amount: $500

    Deadline: March 15

    Details: For graduating high school seniors who will enroll for the first time in an accredited college or university in the U.S. or Puerto Rico.

  • Amount: $4,000

    Deadline: March 19

    Details: The Minority Fellows Program (MFP) is a fellowship competition for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds applying to or in the early stages of doctoral programs in political science. Eligibility requirements include being a member of African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Latinos/as, American Indians or Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians community. Minimum 3.0 GPA.

  • Amount: $20,000

    Deadline: April 1 

    Details/Eligibility: Applicant must be born outside the U.S. or have two parents born outside the U.S; Applicant must be planning to enroll full-time at an accredited public college or university in the academic year the award is offered; Applicant must be either a graduating senior at a high school in the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia or a recent GED grad residing in DC, Maryland or Virginia.

  • Amount: $2,500

    Deadline: April 15

    Details: Must be a DREAMer with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. This is a video submission scholarship. Minimum 3.0 GPA to apply. 

  • Amount: $5,000

    Deadline: April 17

    Details: Open to college-bound women from the Chicago metropolitan area who will be majoring in engineering. Minimum 3.0 GPA. 

  • Amount: $1,000

    Deadline: April 20

    Details: The applicant must be a high school senior on track to graduate or a college student enrolled in an accredited four-year university/college, or currently enrolled in a two-year college and planning to transfer to a four-year university/college upon completion. Current high school students in Georgia who are planning on attending college outside of Georgia may also apply. 

  • Amount: $5,000

    Deadline: June 30

    Details: Earnest believes in helping people realize their hopes and dreams through further education. To help more students get to school, they created the Earnest Scholarship - a no-essay scholarship - as a way to award 50 students who best articulate how their education will enable their dreams.

    There are no minimum GPA, residency, or major requirements to apply!

     
  • Amount: $5,000

    Deadline: July 20

    Details: In recognition of the extraordinary potential of these students, we’ve created the MPOWER Global Citizen Scholarship. We’ve intentionally designed this scholarship program to be as broad as possible to match the broad, diverse experiences of international students. Scholarships awarded annually to international and DACA students enrolled at Universities MPOWER supports.

  • Amount: $3,000

    Deadline: July 20

    Details: Scholarships awarded annually to female international/DACA students who are currently enrolled or accepted to study full-time in a STEM degree program at a program MPOWER supports in the United States or Canada.

  • Amount: $40,000 per year

    Deadline: October 30

    Details: The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Program is a full-ride undergraduate scholarship program available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend and graduate from the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities. Minimum 3.5 GPA.

    PS - because the Cooke scholarship deadline is around the beginning of your senior year, if you are interested in applying to this competitive scholarship, you should begin to research and plan around the end of your junior year!

  • Amount: $1,000

    Deadline: November 30

    Details: The Dr. Juan Andrade Jr. Scholarship for young Hispanic leaders seeks to recognize Hispanic students who share Dr. Andrade’s lifelong commitment to servant leadership.

    Applicants must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as full-time undergraduate students, in an accredited four-year or two-year institution in the U.S. or U.S. territories, and demonstrate a verifiable need for financial support.

  • Amount: over $200,000

    Deadline: mid-late September 

    Details: We are looking for high school seniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite financial challenges. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications, and we do not have absolute criteria or cut-offs for GPA, standardized test scores, income, or other factors.

    The National College Match is open to all U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents OR students, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the United States.

  • Amount: Full-ride!

    Deadline: December 1

    Details: The Science Act Six Scholars Program is a full-ride scholarship for high school students who love their community and want to use their college education to make a difference as a leader on campus and at home, and who live in one of the seven Act Six program site areas.

  • Amount: $2,000

    Deadline: December 1

    Details: Scholarship applicants must be DACA recipient, living within the United States, and enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program within the United States. High school seniors who will be enrolled in college before the application deadline of December 1 are also encouraged to apply.

    Applicants must also have a minimum GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and demonstrate that they are actively involved as a volunteer in the Hispanic community.

  • Amount: Full-ride!

    Deadline: December 14

    Details: The Science Ambassador Scholarship is a full-ride scholarship for undergraduate women in STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, or math), funded by Cards Against Humanity. 

There you have it - my list of awesome scholarships for undocumented students!

Happy applying, feel free to reach out by signing up for office hours (on my resources page) if you need help, and good luck!

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