Money, Undocumented Students

Scholarship Tips for Undocumented Students

No Comments 28 August 2014

Paying for college is tough, but for undocumented students it can seem nearly impossible. The US Government does not allow undocumented students to receive any federal financial aid. Furthermore, most states also do not allow undocumented students access to taxpayer-funded aid (however, some states do! See our official list of these states here). Without the help of federal or state financial aid, undocumented students must heavily rely on scholarships and extreme patience. Here are some tips if you’re undocumented and trying to finance your education.

Figure out exactly how much your degree will cost you

Finding out just how much students need to pay for their higher education is difficult to estimate. Some states permit undocumented students to pay the lower in-state tuition state residents pay for their state’s public institutions. On the other hand, other institutions may treat undocumented students like a foreign student and charge them out-of-state tuition regardless if they have resided in the state.  This all varies from state to state. You can review which states currently offer in-state tuition in the link above.

Be especially careful when reviewing residency and eligibility information 

Regardless if they’re paying in-state or out-state tuition, any tuition will be costly without the help of scholarships. Any scholarships requiring students to be U.S. Citizens or to provide a Social Security number disqualify undocumented students for applying. When searching for scholarships look carefully over the eligibility requirements and look for what if any residency requirements are listed.

Don’t see any residency requirements listed? Students may assume that just because they don’t explicitly state it, that it’s OK for you to go ahead to apply. Don’t make any assumptions. If they don’t list citizenship requirements or specifically indicate that undocumented or Non US Citizens can apply, then students should contact the scholarship to clarify. If you meet all the requirements except for the residency requirements listed, then you should still contact the scholarship provider to see if they can make an exception. It never hurts to ask!

Do not be afraid to tell your story 

For scholarships that are specifically for undocumented students, students should use their personal story of being undocumented to their advantage. In your personal statement be sure to discuss your undocumented status, but don’t make it the centerpiece of your story. Undocumented students are often only judged for their undocumented status, that’s why it’s important to highlight all of the accomplishments made despite the setbacks that being undocumented brings.

Find scholarships on College Greenlight 

We can help you find scholarships as well. Not only can you fill out a free profile on College Greenlight to access a list of scholarships matched to you based on your academics, citizenship status, and accomplishments, but we regularly publish lists of scholarships available to students regardless of citizenship status. You can find our most recent list of these scholarships here.

 

 

 

 

 

Money, Undocumented Students

What is the Deferred Action Program?

1 Comment 05 August 2014

The deferred action program, or more formally titled, the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process was authorized and put into place by the Obama administration. As of August 15th, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, started accepting the first requests for the program. Thousands of requests have already been filed. Lamentably, many were done by people that weren’t qualified or through third parties that don’t know how the program works. Even worse is the fact that many con artists are promoting their services when the only thing they intend to do is steal money from those people that are looking for help.

The deferred action program freezes, for a period of two years, the deportation of undocumented youth that meet certain requirements.

Who is Eligible For Deferred Action?

To avoid these problems, you must be clear on the purpose of the program, and who qualifies for it. The program freezes, for a period of two years, the deportation of undocumented youth that meet certain requirements. What’s more, if you prove that you need to work, they can grant you legal employment authorization. After two years, you have the right to apply to participate again. The requirements that you must meet are:

  1. That as of June 15, 2012, you were under 31 years old.
  2. You came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday.
  3. You have resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
  4. You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and will be when you file your request.
  5. You came to the U.S. without a visa, or your visa had expired by June 15, 2012.
  6. You are currently enrolled in school (elementary, middle school, high school, or college); or have graduated from a high school in the U.S.; or you passed the GED; or you’re an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
  7. Lastly, that you’ve never been found guilty of a serious felony, significant misdemeanors, or more than two misdemeanors.

This program is not the famous DREAM Act, nor is it amnesty.

In order to be able to participate in the program, you have to pay $465 for the government to process your request. A complete request consists of three forms: Form I-821D Considertion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;  Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and the Form I-765 Worksheet. It’s important to stress that this program is not the famous DREAM Act, nor is it amnesty. The USCIS reserves the right to cancel the order of deferred action at any moment and for any reason. Nor does it offer a path to legalization. If they reject your request, you do not have the right to appeal. You can only request that they review your request again if there was a problem in sending the documents, if you didn’t receive something, or they didn’t receive something on time. At no moment should an undocumented person think that this deferred action program is a permanent solution; it is not.

Does Deferred Action Impact Financial Aid?

And how does this impact financial aid? The USCIS has been very clear that this has no impact on your ability to apply for financial aid. Since this program does not grant citizenship or permanent residency to its applicants, they do not qualify for financial aid from the federal government. At the state level, no public university is obligated to offer reduced tuition to undocumented students that are admitted to the program.

 

This guest post by blogger and financial expert Mike Periu 

Money, Undocumented Students

2014-2015 Scholarships for Undocumented Students

No Comments 30 June 2014

We believe that every student who wants to go to college should have access to the resources necessary to get there. Unfortunately, for many undocumented students in America, it is extremely difficult to find up-to-date and accurate scholarship information. To try and help these fantastic students, we’ve combed our scholarship database and put together a list of scholarships for undocumented, international, and immigrant students, including those that do not require US citizenship. In addition, we found many great scholarships that our partners and friends have created for undocumented students, and have included those as well.

Please note that if one of these scholarships asks for a social security number, leave that field blank. Do not fill it in with an inaccurate SSN. MALDEF also recommends directly contacting these organizations to verify if you meet their specific eligibility criteria. If you know of any scholarships that are not on this list, please send an email with a link to the scholarship to our content manager. 

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Award: $5,000

This award is for students in middle school and high school who have made a difference through volunteering over the past year. To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be in grades 5-12 as of November 5. Applications for next year’s awards will open in the fall.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards NATIONAL

Award: $1,000

These scholarships are for students in grades 7-12. To qualify for these scholarships, applicants must be enrolled in a public, private, parochial, homeschool, or after-school program in the United States, Canada, or an American school abroad. To apply for these scholarships, applicants must participate in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards by submitting original art or writing pieces.

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest 

Award: $5,000

This essay contest is for students registered as full-time undergraduate juniors or seniors at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States during the Fall 2013 semester. To enter, applicants must submit an original, unpublished essay of 3,000 to 4,000 words.

QuestBridge National College Match Program 

Award: $100,000

This scholarship program is for high school seniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite facing economic challenges. Most College Match scholarship recipients come from households earning less than $60,000 annually (for a typical family of four) and have experienced long-term economic hardship. Applicants must plan to graduate from high school during or before the spring/summer of 2014 and enroll as freshmen in college in the fall of 2014. Non-US citizens, undocumented, and international students are eligible. Recipients are granted admission to one of QuestBridge’s partner colleges with a full scholarship. All scholarships are full four-year scholarships with no loans. See website for more details.

La Unidad Latina Foundation Scholarship

Award: $1,000

Undergraduate applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.80 out of a 4.0 GPA scale. Cumulative  below 2.80 do not qualify for a scholarship. Applicants must have completed at least one full-time year of study for undergraduate applicants, and one full-time semester of study for graduate applicants.

Golden Door Scholars

Award: $10,000

Golden Door Scholars is a nonprofit that provides undocumented students with college scholarships and internship/career opportunities. Our team hopes not only to raise awareness about this injustice but to also give these students hope for the future. We’re not politically affiliated. We’re just passionate about doing what’s right. The 2015 scholarship will open in the fall.

Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders

Award: $1,000

Applicant must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time student, in a four-year or two-year institution in the U.S. or U.S. territories, and demonstrate a verifiable need for financial support. At least one parent must be of Hispanic ancestry. Recipients must also be available to attend the 33rd National USHLI Conference in Chicago, IL, February 12-15, 2015.

JCKF College Scholarship Program 

Award: $30,000

This scholarship rewards excellence by supporting high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities. Application period is from late-August to early-November.

JCKF Young Scholars Program

Award: Varies

This program offers the most personalized, generous scholarship and educational support to exceptionally promising students from across the nation who have financial need. Scholars receive comprehensive advising and financial support from the 8th grade through high school.

Univision’s “Es El Momento” Scholarship 

Award: $5,000

Applicants must be Latino/a, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and have a history of extracurricular activity.

Comcast Scholarship

Award: $1,000

All nominations for this scholarship must be made exclusively by the school’s principal or guidance counselor. A student must demonstrate a strong commitment to community service and display leadership abilities in school activities or through work experience, and have a GPA above 2.8.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarships

Award: Varies

The HSF has several scholarships listed at the link below. They allow DACA eligible students to apply to any of their scholarships at this time.

Davis Putter Scholarship Fund

Award: $10,000

The first and most important qualification for a Davis-Putter Scholarship is active participation in struggles for civil rights, economic justice, international solidarity or other progressive issues.

Scholarship for Prospective Educators 

Award: $10,000

Applicants must be high school seniors who are planning on majoring in education.

The Esperanza Education Fund

Award: $5,000 – $20,000

Applicants must be graduating seniors at a high school in D.C., Maryland, or Virginia and must enroll full-time at an accredited public college or university in the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Scholarship 

Award: $2,500 – $5,000

Applications must be DACA eligible and possess an employment authorization document at the time of application. Applications must demonstrate consistent, active participation in public or community service.

Ayn Rand The Fountainhead Essay Contest

Award: $10,000

This essay contest is for 11th and 12th graders worldwide. There are no citizenship requirements. To apply, applicants must submit an essay on the book, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG)

Award: $1,300

This grant is for Oklahoma residents who are attending eligible colleges, universities, and career technology centers in Oklahoma. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate financial need, which is measured by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is determined based on the information provided on the FAFSA. Applicants must be undergraduate students and may be enrolled part- or full-time. Undocumented immigrants meeting certain requirements may be considered; see website for more details.

Sunkist Memorial Scholarship 

Award: $2,000

Applicants must have a background in California or Arizona agriculture. The student or someone in the student’s immediate family must have derived the majority of his or her income from agriculture.

Byron Hanke Fellowship

Award: $4,000

Applicants must be graduate students working on topics related to community organizations.

Page Education Scholar Grant

Award: $2,500

This scholarship is for students of color who are graduates of Minnesota high schools and are enrolled full-time in a Minnesota college/university.

Ayn Rand We the Living Essay Contest

Award: $3,000

This essay contest is for 10th, 11th, and 12th graders worldwide. There are no citizenship requirements. To apply, applicants must submit an essay on the book, We the Living by Ayn Rand.

Berrien Fragos Thorn Arts Scholarship

Award: $500

Applicants must demonstrate an interest in pursuing further development of their talents in one of the following disciplines: visual-painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, dance, music, film, poetry, literature, folk art, furniture crafting, weaving, or pottery.

 

 

Undocumented Students

Scholarships for Undocumented Students

No Comments 27 March 2014

We believe that every student who wants to go to college should have access to the resources necessary to get there. Unfortunately, for many undocumented students in America, it is extremely difficult to find up-to-date and accurate scholarship information. To try and help these fantastic students, we’ve combed our scholarship database and put together a list of scholarships for undocumented, international, and immigrant students, including those that do not require US citizenship. In addition, we found many great scholarships that our partners and friends have created for undocumented students, and have included those as well.

This list of scholarships owes a debt of gratitude to the MALDEF 2014-2015 Scholarship Resource Guide, which can be accessed at this link. 

Please note that if one of these scholarships asks for a social security number, leave that field blank. Do not fill it in with an inaccurate SSN. MALDEF also recommends directly contacting these organizations to verify if you meet their specific eligibility criteria. If you know of any scholarships that are not on this list, please send an email with a link to the scholarship to our content manager. 

Davis Putter Scholarship Fund

Deadline: April 1     Award: $10,000

The first and most important qualification for a Davis-Putter Scholarship is active participation in struggles for civil rights, economic justice, international solidarity or other progressive issues.

Scholarship for Prospective Educators 

Deadline: April 1     Award: $10,000

Applicants must be high school seniors who are planning on majoring in education.

The Esperanza Education Fund

Deadline: April 1     Award: $5,000 – $20,000

Applicants must be graduating seniors at a high school in D.C., Maryland, or Virginia and must enroll full-time at an accredited public college or university in the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Scholarship 

Deadline: April 16     Award: $2,500 – $5,000

Applications must be DACA eligible and possess an employment authorization document at the time of application. Applications must demonstrate consistent, active participation in public or community service.

Ayn Rand The Fountainhead Essay Contest

Deadline: April 26     Award: $10,000

This essay contest is for 11th and 12th graders worldwide. There are no citizenship requirements. To apply, applicants must submit an essay on the book, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG)

Deadline: ASAP      Award: $1,300

This grant is for Oklahoma residents who are attending eligible colleges, universities, and career technology centers in Oklahoma. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate financial need, which is measured by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is determined based on the information provided on the FAFSA. Applicants must be undergraduate students and may be enrolled part- or full-time. Undocumented immigrants meeting certain requirements may be considered; see website for more details.

Sunkist Memorial Scholarship 

Deadline: April 30     Award: $2,000

Applicants must have a background in California or Arizona agriculture. The student or someone in the student’s immediate family must have derived the majority of his or her income from agriculture.

Byron Hanke Fellowship

Deadline: May 1     Award: $4,000

Applicants must be graduate students working on topics related to community organizations.

Page Education Scholar Grant

Deadline: May 1     Award: $2,500

This scholarship is for students of color who are graduates of Minnesota high schools and are enrolled full-time in a Minnesota college/university.

Ayn Rand We the Living Essay Contest

Deadline: May 6     Award: $3,000

This essay contest is for 10th, 11th, and 12th graders worldwide. There are no citizenship requirements. To apply, applicants must submit an essay on the book, We the Living by Ayn Rand.

Berrien Fragos Thorn Arts Scholarship

Deadline: June 1     Award: $500

Applicants must demonstrate an interest in pursuing further development of their talents in one of the following disciplines: visual-painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, dance, music, film, poetry, literature, folk art, furniture crafting, weaving, or pottery.

DREAM Act Student Activist Scholarship Program 

Deadline: June 1     Award: $5,000

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and demonstrate a record of activism around immigrant rights.

 

 

Money, Undocumented Students

How to Find Financial Aid if You Are Undocumented

1 Comment 22 January 2014

If you are an undocumented student, there are still financial aid opportunities available to you. The key is figuring out exactly which opportunities are available to you based on where you live.

But before we dive into those opportunities, it’s important to recognize a few hard truths. If you do not have a social security number, you are not eligible for federal financial aid. That means you are not eligible for government loans, government grants, federal aid, and work-study programs that are financed by the government. This does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t fill out the FAFSA, but you should check with your high school, after school, or college guidance counselor before you do.

There is still a huge push to change these policies so that amazing students like you can have access to these types of aid, but until those changes are made you’ll have to be especially diligent and creative.

Step one: start with your state

The first place to look for aid is your state. Several right-thinking states have enacted legislation that provides aid to undocumented students. The two major types of legislation these states have taken on are:

1. In State Tuition for Undocumented Students: this means that even if you are not a US citizen you can still be eligible to pay the same amount for a PUBLIC COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY that any other in-state resident would receive.

2. State Financial Aid for Undocumented Students: this means that the state has financial aid that you can apply for to help you pay for college.

Here are a list of states with legislation that supports undocumented students:

California In State Tuition and State Financial Aid
Connecticut In-State Tuition
Illinois In State Tuition and State Financial Aid
Kansas In State Tuition
Maryland In State Tuition
Massachusetts In State Tuition
Nebraska In State Tuition
New Mexico In State Tution and State Financial Aid
New York In State Tuition and State Financial Aid
Oklahoma In State Tution
Oregon In State Tuition
Rhode Island In State Tuition
Texas In State Tution and State Financial Aid
Utah In State Tuition
Washington In State Tuition

 

If you live in any of these states, you can find out more information about their legislation at this link. 

Step two: search for scholarships 

There are hundreds and hundreds of scholarships that are available to undocumented students, as well as scholarships that do not require disclosure of citizenship. You should fill out a profile on College Greenlight in order to access our database of nearly every scholarship in the country. We make sure to list citizenship requirements with our scholarships.

We also have put together a list of scholarships that are specifically available to undocumented students that you can find here. 

And if you know of any scholarships for undocumented students, please let us know! We are always interested in adding these scholarships to our database, and in promoting them to our students. You can get started by sending an email to info@collegegreenlight.com.

Step three: speak with a teacher or counselor

If you do not already have a high school, after school, or college teacher or counselor helping you build your college plan, you should! Their job is to help you access education, regardless of citizenship. And while telling your story might be scary, you should know there are so many people working in education that believe in you, us included! Another great place to find caring advocates is right here on College Greenlight. If you are currently not working with an after school program or other community organization that helps students get into college, let us know! Send an email with your name and the city you live in to ralvarez@collegegreenlight.com and I will try and help connect you with a great organization.

Step four: talk to your favorite college

If you have a college or university in mind that you’ve always wanted to go to, talk to them about your situation. If the college is any good, they’ll be happy to let you know of any opportunities they have for undocumented students.

Step five: don’t give up

We want to see the DREAM Act passed. We believe every student who wants to receive higher education and is serious about it deserves a chance. There are many great places you can get even more information if you are undocumented and are still wary of speaking with someone. One great place is at Educators for Fair Consideration, a not-for-profit website dedicated to helping undocumented students access to affordable higher education. We hope that someday, all students will have equal access to education. But the hard truth is that right now, they don’t. We hope this guide has been helpful, but if you have any suggestions on how to make it better, please let us know in the comments!

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