Money, Undocumented Students

How to Find Financial Aid if You Are Undocumented

1 Comment 22 January 2014

Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

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

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 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!

Your Comments

1 comment

  1. NeedAnswerPlease says:

    If you are a DACA student I know that you won’t receive federal aid, but does this include loans? I know the FAFSA allows students to receive loans with a lower interest rate. Can DACA students apply for these?

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