Undocumented Student Scholarships

Scholarships for Undocumented Students

The college admissions process is overwhelming for many, but even more so for undocumented students. They face a variety of barriers, including confusion about the process, legal issues, and financial hardship. To make matters worse, many believe that they are ineligible to enroll in an American college or university. However, no state or federal laws prohibit undocumented students from earning a degree at either a private or public college, although some colleges have enacted their own admissions policies requiring proof of citizenship or legal residency. Other institutions that do accept undocumented students may, however, charge these students the higher, out-of-state fees, even if they have resided in the state their entire lives. Only 18 states currently have measures in place to ensure undocumented students are charged at the lower, in-state tuition rate. Another roadblock students face is the inability to receive federal and state financial aid, although a handful of states have offered aid to those who qualify for in-state tuition. It’s no wonder that less than 13,000 undocumented students are estimated to attend college in the United States. Thankfully, one resource has opened its doors to these students…private scholarships. Here are just a few that are currently accepting applications.

1. CustomMade Scholarship

Students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program may be eligible for this $1,000 scholarship. Students simply need to submit an essay (1,000 words or more) on why someone should buy custom furniture. Deadline: December 15.

2. Scholarship America Dream Award

Scholarship America offers a new, multi-year scholarship that increases with value as students progress through their studies. The awards are valued between $5,000 and $15,000 each year, and grow by $1,000 each year until graduation. Eligible students must be entering their sophomore year of college during the 2014-2015 academic year. Deadline: December TBA.

3. CAC Educational Scholarship Foundation

The California Association of Collectors (CAC) offers three scholarships annually ($2,500, $2,000 and $1,500) to California high school seniors. Students must complete a simple one-page application and submit an essay on the importance of establishing and maintaining good credit during college. Deadline: January 5.

4. Microsoft Minority Scholarship

Current undergraduate students who are attending a North American college (Canada, U.S. or Mexico) may receive up to a full-tuition scholarship from Microsoft. Eligible candidates will have at least a 3.0 grade point average and be pursuing a degree in a computer science/engineering field, or other technical fields, such as math or physics. Deadline: January 31.

5. La Unidad Latina Foundation Scholarship

Since 1999, the La Unidad Latina Foundation has supported outstanding students (those with a grade point average of 2.8 or higher) by providing scholarships valued between $250 and $1,000 each. These competitive scholarships are awarded to Hispanic students who are college sophomores or older, including current graduate students. Applications are accepted in the spring and the fall. Deadlines: October 15 & February 15.

Another great resource for undocumented students is the Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) website. There, students will find a downloadable list of scholarships that are available for the academic year, which is frequently updated. Some colleges also offer scholarships specifically for undocumented students, especially institutions in California. Although the road to a higher education may be a bit more treacherous for undocumented students, there are resources available to help them make their dreams a reality. Sometimes, it just takes one person to help them find their way.

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Tamara is the Social Media Coordinator and a regular writer for ScholarshipExperts.com, eStudentLoan.com and CampusDiscovery.com. She enjoys helping students prepare for college. As a mother of four, Tamara has first-hand experience with many areas of education, including special needs (autism), the International Baccalaureate program and post-secondary education. She enjoys speaking at schools and mentoring others online. In her free time, Tamara enjoys volunteering and supporting her favorite football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
17 Responses to “Scholarships for Undocumented Students”
  1. domingo cabrera says:

    Hello, my name is Domingo cabrera and currently a junior in high school. The reason I am writing is because I am looking for scholarships or any other resource of incomes to pay for college. As an undocumented student is really hard to get the opportunity to pay for college. I am a outstanding person and also I have a story to tell, I have good grades Even though I start my freshman year without knowing a single word in English.
    I willing to work hard but I need help to get to college.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi Domingo,

      Be sure to check with your guidance counselor, as he or she may know of some local organizations that help undocumented students. You should also visit your state’s education website, as many now provide scholarships and other financial aid to assist undocumented students. Always ask the financial aid office at potential colleges, too.

  2. Evelyn says:

    Hello, my name is Evelyn Vazquez, I am recently a Freshman in college. I currently do not qualify for any Gov. Help due to my citizenship, I was wanting more information for scholarships. I live in Oklahoma and I haven’t been able to find any, and my college can’t help me at all.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi Evelyn. Are you an undocumented student or an international student? If you are an undocumented student, you may qualify for scholarships specifically for students in your situation. If you are an international student, I suggest checking out http://www.iefa.org. It has several resources to help students studying outside of their countries.

  3. Marco says:

    Are DREAMers eligible for athletic scholarships? I have done very well in baseball and have been noticed by colleges. Some division 1 colleges. If they were to give me a scholarship would I be eligible for it?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi, Marco. You would need to speak with the college financial aid department. If you are talented, I’m sure they would find a way to help you pay for school.

  4. Kevin Castillo says:

    are ab540 students able to afford universities to live on-campus in california? I am a high school senior and I am trying to get many information about cal grants and scholarships but I have not figured out if I would be able to get the help to afford universities to live on campus. I have an oustanding GPA and many extracurricular activities and community service.

  5. Gabriela Tapia says:

    My name is Gabriela and I’m undocumented. I’m currently a Senior At a Early College High school in Dallas. I do not qualify for any Government Help due to my citizenship, I want more information about scholarships i can apply.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi Gabriela. Contact the financial aid offices at every college you are considering and ask about potential scholarships for undocumented students. You’ll still need to complete the FAFSA (even though you are not eligible for federal aid), as this will help schools determine how much need-based aid they can offer you. UNT has a great list of resources for undocumented students that you should also check out: http://financialaid.unt.edu/undocumented-student-resources.

  6. Glendy Mendoza says:

    Hi my name is Glendy Mendoza and I’m a currently junior in high school. The reason I am writing to you is because I am looking for scholarships I’m planning to be a Doctor, but I am an undocumented student and is hard to pay for college or get a scholarship because they ask for a Social Security Number. I am in National Honor Society (NHS) with a 3.6 GPA, even though I start my freshman year without knowing a single word in English.I am willing to work hard but I need help to get to college to accomplish my dream.

  7. Glendy Mendoza says:

    I forgot to mention that I am also in Community Service Activity.

  8. lyse francois says:

    Hi, my name is Lyse. i’m a high school graduate with great academic excellence and a honor student. i am trying really hard to start college. i got accepted in a college in the state of Florida but due to my legal status i can’t find any help from the government for any fees. i don’t know what to do and i really would like to start college as soon as possible. i am undocumented. i am willing to work hard to accomplish my dream but i need help financially,what can i do?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      I would encourage you to speak with the financial aid office at the college and see if they may be able to help. You can also Google ‘scholarships for undocumented students’ to find additional resources to help you pay for college.

  9. Brenda Salazar says:

    Hello, I am currently attending a community college in California. Are their any resources to find internships and research opportunities for undocumented students? I am pursuing a degree in engineering.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Brenda, I would stop by your student worksource office (or career center) and see what they can do to help pair you with a company in your area. They may also have access to information on research projects at nearby universities or companies.

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