Money, Undocumented Students

Scholarship Tips for Undocumented Students

Comments Off on Scholarship Tips for Undocumented Students 28 August 2014

080414 Tips for Undocumented Students

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.






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