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Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Mark Kantrowitz

October 08, 2012

Undocumented Students

If the student is undocumented, opportunities for financial aid are much more limited. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal student aid, nor are they eligible for state grants.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) might allow some undocumented students to normalize their status and qualify for federal student aid. The DREAM Act would also repeal section 505 of IIRIRA, allowing each state to determine whether undocumented students qualify for in-state tuition. The latest version of the DREAM Act, however, drops the provisions granting the students eligibility for federal student aid and in-state tuition. But this legislation, which was first introduced in 2001, has not yet been enacted.

There is a section of the FinAid site that discusses financial aid and scholarships for undocumented students, including whether the state allows or denies in-state tuition to undocumented students. The College Board publishes a Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students, which compiles a list of state policies.

The Fastweb scholarship matching service matches scholarships according to their citizenship requirements, so undocumented students can search for scholarships that do not require them to be US citizens or permanent residents. See also Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Students.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) offers its own MALDEF scholarships. Other resources include Latino College Dollars and the Salvadoran American Leadership & Educational Fund.


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