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Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Despite contemporary disputes over immigration laws as it continuously appears on the nation's political agenda, at least seventeen states allow non-native students to pay in-state tuition after having passed a tuition equity bill. While scholarship opportunities for undocumented students seem scarce, there are opportunities nonetheless. Not all scholarships will explicitly call for "undocumented" students - they may require students to have a specific status such as DACA, AB 540, etc. Some scholarships may not even ask about immigration status or citizenship, so you may qualify for those scholarships if you are currently undocumented. Make sure to check your state's immigration laws and policies when applying for scholarships and other forms of financial aid.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that allows certain undocumented students who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007, to receive a renewable, two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. However, DACA should not be confused with the DREAM Act - which is a legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for illegal immigrants in the US. DREAM would allow conditional residency and upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency. Therefore, DACA provides a legal presence but not a legal status. Additionally, under California law, if you are an AB 540 student, you may qualify to attend college in California and pay in-state tuition and be exempt from paying non-resident tuition. Be sure to know your status and its eligibility when applying for these kinds of scholarships.

There are specific organizations such as TheDream.Us that help immigrant youth and undocumented students who have received DACA achieve their American Dream through the completion of a college education. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund also provides students a scholarship program, regardless of their immigration status, as long as students can demonstrate a commitment to advancing Latino civil rights through their career.

Not only do these organizations provide scholarship programs and opportunities, but they also have education resources based on your state - be sure to check your current or prospective college's scholarship and financial aid opportunities to help fund your college education. You may need to conduct some personal research when it comes to staying updated on immigration policies, as they are constantly fluctuating and have gray areas. Even if a state does not have a DREAM Act, schools may offer merit scholarships that are not tied to federal funding. And remember to conduct a free search to see what scholarships you may be eligible for.

Below are just some scholarships available to undocumented students, or ones that do not request immigration status or citizenship. Read the eligibility and status requirements carefully when applying. You can find more information on these and other awards by completing a profile and conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com.

A.R.E. Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/14/2018
  • Amount: $5,000
  • The Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E.) is determined to provide an education that is equitable to all, regardless of citizenship status. A.R.E. believes that all students deserve an opportunity to attend college without discrimination of any kind. Through its fiscal sponsor, the Raza Education Fund, the Association of Raza Educators will provide undocumented students with an opportunity to [...] More

COFEM Mexican American Dream Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 9/30/2017
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Since 2008, COFEM, its affiliated federations, and sponsoring partners have come together to provide scholarships to outstanding students. These scholarships have helped more than 275 students to complete their higher education.

    By now the program had designated about $290,000 for immigrants, sons of immigrants, undocumented students, and AB-540/DACA students who are pursuing their dreams and [...] More

CUNY Becas Scholarship Program

  • Application Deadline: 2/28/2018
  • Amount: $6,330
  • The CUNY Becas program of the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute offers scholarships to CUNY undergraduate and graduate students who meet three criteria: academic achievement, financial need, and commitment to service in the Mexican community. Currently, the scholarship can only be used for tuition and it covers up to $6,330 for one year of undergraduate studies (the equivalent of full [...] More

First in the Family Humanist Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 6/10/2017
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Four (4) $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to graduating LAUSD seniors who will be the first in their immediate families to go to college. Preference will be given to students who are (or have been) in foster care, homeless, undocumented students and/or LGBTQ (system involved youth applicants also encouraged to apply).

    Before completing the online application, make sure you have the [...] More

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: Varies
  • Through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation's college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

    Predoctoral, Dissertation, and [...] More

Freedom From Religion Foundation Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award

  • Application Deadline: 6/17/2017
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Four (4) scholarships are awarded to high school youth to assist with their tuition, room and board, books, and other academic resources. This award is available to high school youth who live in the U.S. who identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist and/or secular, and are accepted into two or four-year colleges. Preference is given to students of color (Black/African American, Latino(a), [...] More

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

  • Application Deadline: 2/15/2018
  • Amount: $23,000
  • Created in 1988 by the award-winning teachers of the Golden Apple Foundation, the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program recruits and prepares a rich ethnic diversity of bright and talented high school graduates for successful teaching careers in schools of need throughout Illinois.

    Golden Apple Scholars are selected from these distinct paths:
    - Graduating high school students
    - Pathway [...] More

Golden Door Scholars

  • Application Deadline: 10/27/2017
  • Amount: Varies
  • Golden Door Scholars and organizations like us provide hope for the 1.2 million undocumented youth in the U.S. Since 2013, we have awarded college scholarships to 45 exceptional students from an applicant pool of over 2200 students.

    Golden Door Scholars will award up to 50 scholarships. Recipients who attend Golden Door Scholars' partner colleges and universities will receive a full, four-year [...] More

Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards

  • Application Deadline: 10/2/2017
  • Amount: $3,000
  • The Youth Awards program is presented by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and its sponsors. Celebrating its 18th year the Youth Awards honors Latino high school students across the nation, we believe the talented Youth Awardees we honor each year are the leaders of today, not tomorrow and their impact will be felt in the classrooms, communities, and the workforce. Join us as we identify, [...] More

Latino Resources College Scholarship Fund

  • Application Deadline: 5/31/2017
  • Amount: $2,000
  • The Latino Resources College Scholarship Fund was launched in 2014 as a responsive Latino student success initiative. Through the Latino Resources College Scholarship Fund monetary awards are made to exceptional Latino college students in order to support increased Latino college completion rates. Latino students who are pursuing college education goals at a two-year community college, vocational [...] More

MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program

  • Application Deadline: 1/17/2018
  • Amount: $5,000
  • MALDEF's Law School Scholarship Program is open to all law students currently enrolled full-time at an accredited United States law school. Applicants are evaluated for their academic and extracurricular achievements, for their background and financial need, and, most important, for their demonstrated commitment to advancing Latino civil rights in their careers.

    Submission materials:
    -MALDEF [...] More

OCIYU Scholarship for Undocumented Students

  • Application Deadline: 4/2/2018
  • Amount: $500
  • OCIYU fundraises year-round to provide one of the few nationwide scholarship awards programs managed by undocumented youth for undocumented students. The scholarship is only open to undocumented students living in the United States. Whether you live in Orange County, Texas, Rhode Island, or anywhere else in the U.S., are undocumented, and are attending college next fall, this scholarship is for [...] More

Single Parent Professional Certification Scholarship of Northwest Arkansas

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $500
  • The Professional Certification Scholarships are for students pursuing certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Technician, or in Phlebotomy from UAMS/Schmieding Center, Petra Allied Health, PRN, NTI, or NWACC.

    This scholarship is $500 and is a one-time scholarship. It can be applied for at any time during the year. There are no deadlines to apply for this scholarship. [...] More

Single Parent Traditional Scholarship of Northwest Arkansas

  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Amount: $1,750
  • The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, Inc. (SPSF NWA) works to help single parent families become financially stable and independent. We do this by providing direct financial assistance to low-income single parents who are pursuing a career-related course of study in order to gain sufficient employment to meet the basic needs of their families.

    Eligibility:
    -A single [...] More

South Carolina Teaching Fellows

  • Application Deadline: 12/1/2017
  • Amount: $24,000
  • The Fellowship is awarded each year to as many as 175 high school seniors. Fellows receive up to $24,000 in funds while they complete a degree leading to teacher licensure. A Fellow agrees to teach in a South Carolina public school one year for every year he or she receives the fellowship.

    Fellows attend one of ten Teaching Fellows Institutions across the state. These schools include Anderson [...] More

Support Creativity Graduate Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 5/5/2017
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Design something creative that illustrates your passion for your specific creative field. This can be done in absolutely any medium (drawing, painting, animation, digital media, film, etc.) Submit an essay that explains this piece of work. Also, make sure to express why you should receive this scholarship and any financial hardship that you may be going through. It can be as long as you want and [...] More

Support Creativity Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 5/1/2017
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Design something creative that illustrates your passion for your specific creative field. This can be done in absolutely any medium (drawing, painting, animation, digital media, film, etc.) Submit an essay that explains this piece of work. Also, make sure to express why you should receive this scholarship and any financial hardship that you may be going through. It can be as long as you want and [...] More

Support Creativity Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 5/1/2017
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Design something creative that illustrates your passion for your specific creative field. This can be done in absolutely any medium (drawing, painting, animation, digital media, film, etc.). Submit an essay that explains this piece of work. Also, make sure to express why you should receive this scholarship and any financial hardship that you may be going through. It can be as long as you want and [...] More

The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 1/15/2018
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Anhelo Project is a not-for-profit organization that consists of a group of student leaders and professionals from various educational institutions and community-based organizations in Chicago. Our goal is to support undocumented students, who despite growing up in the United States and earning a high school diploma, continuously face challenging roadblocks when pursuing a post-secondary [...] More

The Dream.US Scholarships for Community College Graduates

  • Application Deadline: 3/8/2018
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Dream.US Community College Graduate Scholarship is available to community college students with demonstrated financial need who have earned their associate's degrees and seek to complete their bachelor's degrees at one of our four-year Partner Colleges. Students who are currently enrolled in a bachelor's degree program are not eligible. Scholars are selected from a nationwide pool of [...] More

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund College Scholarships

  • Application Deadline: 4/2/2018
  • Amount: $5,000
  • HSF/ General College Scholarships are designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage in obtaining a college degree. Scholarships are available on a competitive basis to graduating high school seniors, community college transfer students, undergraduate students and graduate students. Applicants must be of Hispanic heritage and have a minimum of 3.0 GPA for high school students. A minimum of 2.5 [...] More

The Pinnacol Foundation College Scholarship Program

  • Application Deadline: 4/15/2018
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Pinnacol Foundation Scholarship Program helps the children of Colorado workers injured or killed in a compensable work-related accident - regardless of insurance carrier - pay for a post-secondary education.

    Eligibility:
    -Be the natural, adopted, step-child or full dependent of a worker injured or killed in a compensable work-related accident during the course and scope of employment [...] More

TheDream.US Community College Graduate Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/8/2018
  • Amount: Varies
  • The Community College Graduate Scholarship is available to community college students with demonstrated financial need who have earned their associate's degrees and seek to complete their bachelor's degrees at one of our four-year Partner Colleges. Students who are currently enrolled in a bachelor's degree program are not eligible. Scholars are selected from a nationwide pool of [...] More

TheDream.US First Time College Student Scholarship

  • Application Deadline: 3/8/2018
  • Amount: $25,000
  • The TheDream.US First Time College Student Scholarship is available to high school seniors or high school graduates with demonstrated financial need who are first-time college students and seek to earn a career-ready associate's or bachelor's degree at one of our partner colleges. Students who are currently enrolled in college are not eligible. Must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, demonstrate significant [...] More

United Methodist GBHEM Doctorate Level Scholarships

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2018
  • Amount: $10,000
  • GBHEM Scholarships administers scholarship programs with one general application. Criteria for each scholarship program varies.

    The minimum requirements for Doctoral scholarships are:
    -Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA person
    -Applicants must be an active full member of The United Methodist Church for at least 1 year (International applicants must be active full [...] More

United Methodist GBHEM General Scholarships

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2018
  • Amount: $2,000
  • GBHEM Scholarships administers scholarship programs with one general application. Criteria for each scholarship program varies.

    Eligibility:
    -Must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA person
    -Must be an active full member of the United Methodist Church for at least one year (international applicants must be active full members for at least three years. Other Methodist [...] More

United Methodist GBHEM Ministry as a Career Scholarships

  • Application Deadline: 3/1/2018
  • Amount: $10,000
  • GBHEM Scholarships administers scholarship programs with one general application. Criteria for each scholarship program varies.

    The minimum requirements for Ministry scholarships are:
    -Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA person
    -Applicants must be an active full member of The United Methodist Church for at least 1 year (International applicants must be active full [...] More

Last Reviewed: April 2017

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