Resources for Undocumented Students in Higher Education

This article was originally posted to the Generation Progress website.

By Christian L. Smith and Anthony Solis-Cruz | Posted JULY 25, 2017, 12:23 PM

Updated DECEMBER 5, 2018.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate programs which undocumented students are eligible to apply for. Many other organizations have resources–whether that be their own scholarship lists, info on how to navigate financial aid, or general tips and recommendations. We’ve included an aggregation of those resources at the end of this post. If you have questions, or simply a resource to add, please contact Christian Smith at csmith@americanprogress.org. For the previous version of this page, please click here.

Highlighted Undergraduate Scholarships and Programs

TheDream.Us

National Scholarship

Opens: November 1, 2018

Closes: February 28, 2019 at 11:59 PM PST

Opportunity Scholarship

Opens: November 1, 2018

Closes: January 31, 2019 at 11:59 PM PST

Description: TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for DREAMersTheDream.US scholarships are for highly motivated DREAMers who want nothing more than to get a college education, but are unable to afford the cost due to limited or no access to federal aid, limited access to state aid, and who, in certain states, face paying out-of-state tuition.

The National Scholarship is for high school or community college graduates. The Opportunity Scholarship is for students who live in targeted, locked-out states where they cannot get in-state tuition. Your eligibility for both is based upon where you live.

Union Plus Scholarship (2019)

Opens: June 20, 2018

Closes:  January 31, 2019

Description: Since 1991, the Union Plus Scholarship Program has awarded more than $4 million to students of working families who want to begin or continue their post-secondary education.

The Union Plus Scholarship Program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation, supported in part by contributions from the provider of the Union Plus Credit Card. (You do not need to be a Union Plus Credit Card holder to apply for this scholarship.)

Current and retired members of participating unions, their spouses and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations). At least one year of continuous union membership by the applicant, applicant’s spouse or parent (if applicant is a dependent). The one year membership minimum must be satisfied by May 31, 2017

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Program

2018 – 2019 Scholarship deadline: April 2, 2018 (CLOSED)

(The 2019-2020 Scholarship should open at the end of December 2018)

Description: The HSF Scholarship is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage obtain a college degree. Scholarships are available, on a competitive basis, to high school seniors, undergraduate students (all years), community college students transferring to four year universities, and graduate students.

Migrant Farmworker Baccalaureate Scholarship    

2017 deadline: passed

2018 deadline: July 1 (CLOSED)

(Please visit the Geneseo Migrant Center website for updates to this scholarship, and to see other available scholarships)

Description: The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial support to a deserving student with a history of migrating for employment in agriculture who has successfully completed one year of college. This support will cover expenses beyond what the youth is entitled to in federal/state and other scholarship assistance. This scholarship is designed to assist the youth in obtaining a baccalaureate degree without being encumbered with substantial debt. This scholarship is made available through a generous endowment from an anonymous, concerned individual for the education of children of migrant farmworkers.

The Science Ambassador Scholarship (2019)

Opens: Fall 2018

Closes: Applicants will be able to edit their submitted applications until December 11, 2018 at midnight CST.

Description: The scholarship is a full–tuition scholarship for a woman in science, technology, engineering, or math.
Funded by “Cards Against Humanity”, the scholarship awards up to four years of tuition to a woman seeking a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM). To apply, film a three–minute video of yourself explaining a topic in STEM you are passionate about. You must be a high school senior or an undergraduate college student to apply.

The Point Foundation

Opens: November 1, 2018

Closes: January 30, 2019

Description: The point foundation is the largest scholarship-granting (in higher ed) organization for LGBTQ+ students. This scholarship is for those involved in the LGBTQ+ community. Factors considered to receive the scholarship include: leadership, academic achievement, financial need, personal goals AND involvement in the LGBTQ+ community. The foundation also pays close attention to students who have lost the support of their families/communities due to their sexual orientation. Students are matched with mentors and attend leadership development programs. The applicants also pledge to give back to the LGBTQ+ community by completing a community service project each year.

ReconoceR Scholarship Fund

Closes: April, 2019

Description: The ReconoceR Scholarship Fund objective is to provide higher-education opportunities for young Mexican and Central American migrants living in the United States in vulnerable conditions and who want to pursue studies at the Universidad de Monterrey, through a scholarship award and support to facilitate their stay in Mexico.

Please read the “Process” page for personal documentation submission procedures.

Highlighted Graduate Fellowships and Programs

McNair Scholars Program Funding Guide/Opportunities

(Note that not every opportunity is available to undocumented students)

Description: The McNair Scholars Program serves first-gen, underrepresented students in order to help prepare them for doctoral studies. This organization seeks to increase the amount of graduate degrees for underrepresented students.

UCLA’s Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship

Description: This four-year fellowship program, funded by the University of California Office of the President, the UCLA Graduate Division, and the home department, supports a limited number of students who are entering PhD programs and are interested in a career in college or university teaching and research. The fellowship currently provides a stipend of $25,000 plus tuition and, for the first year only, nonresident supplemental tuition if necessary. Professional degree supplemental tuition, if the awardee is enrolled in a professional degree program, is not covered. Fellows may not be employed during the first year of this fellowship. During the student’s fourth year, the Graduate Division provides a second year of support at the same funding level. The student’s department is obligated to provide two or more years of equivalent support. Applicants must be nominated by their department/school. Students pursuing MD, DDS, or JD degrees are not eligible for this program.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented students who qualify for nonresident supplemental tuition exemptions under AB 540 (eligibility for undocumented AB540 students is effective January 1, 2013). Individuals from cultural, racial, linguistic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in graduate education are especially encouraged to participate in the program.

UCLA’s Graduate Opportunity Fellowship Program (GOFP)

Description: This one-year fellowship program provides recipients with a $20,000 stipend plus tuition (and nonresident supplemental tuition if necessary). Professional degree supplemental tuition, if the awardee is enrolled in a professional degree program, is not covered. Fellows may not be employed during the tenure of this fellowship. The program supports a limited number of entering students pursuing either terminal or professional master’s degrees. Students pursuing doctoral degrees (e.g., PhD, MD, DDS, etc.)  are not eligible for funding. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented students who qualify for nonresident supplemental tuition exemptions under AB 540 (eligibility for undocumented AB540 students is effective January 1, 2013). Individuals from cultural, racial, linguistic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in graduate education are especially encouraged to apply.

Additional Resources 

Dreamer’s Roadmap

Scholarship List

Description: Through the DREAMer’s Roadmap app, prospective college students who do not possess residency or other legal status in the U.S. can safely navigate the financial aid options available to them so they can further their education.

Immigrants Rising (formerly Educators for Fair Consideration)

Scholarship Fund

Fellowships

Description: Formerly known as “Educators for Fair Consideration” (E4FC) until 2018, Immigrants Rising is an organization and network built around the purpose of providing educational resources, career training, mentorship, professional development, and advocacy for undocumented immigrant communities.

The Immigrants Rising’s Scholarship Fund (previously called New American Scholars Fund) provides financial awards to low-income immigrant college and graduate students who live and/or attend school in the San Francisco Bay Area. Theyprovide scholarships of up to $7,000 to cover tuition and other expenses. Scholars are selected for their academic excellence, financial need, and community impact; they are also expected to maintain a minimum GPA (2.8 for college students and 3.0 for graduate students), and participate in ongoing E4FC programming, events, and activities throughout the year.

Immigrants Rising also offers various year-long fellowships fro undocumented young people in the Bay area and nationwide.

Geneseo Migrant Center

Scholarship List 

Description: The Geneseo Migrant Center administers a variety of scholarships to offer financial assistance to migrant students who want to further their education. Please note the annual deadline for each scholarship.

Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF)

MALDEF’s Scholarship Resource Guide for the 2018-2019 Academic Year (PDF)

Description: MALDEF is legal organization that advocates for the civil rights of Latinos in the United States. It publishes an extensive list of scholarships, including many that do not inquire about immigration status or require a valid social security number. Many scholarship awards can be processed with just the student’s name and address.

My Undocumented Life

Up-to-date information & resources for undocumented immigrants

Scholarships open to Undocumented Students (List)

Undergraduate Scholarships (List)

Graduate School Scholarships (List)

Description: My (Un)Documented Life offers a wide list of scholarships aimed to help undocumented students at different levels – in terms of demographic identity and education level. The resources can be organized by type and due date, and is a useful tool to find the scholarships that are right for you and your needs.

National Immigration Law Center (NILC)

Resources on Financial Aid & Scholarships for Students Regardless of Immigration Status (List)

Description: Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.

The NILC publishes a comprehensive advocacy toolkit which includes a scholarship list, alongside information on state laws and tuition equity initiatives meant to make it easier for immigrants to go college.

Scholarships A-Z

ScholarshipsA-Z’s Scholarship List

Description: Scholarships A-Z believes that all students can go to college, regardless of immigration status. Scholarships listed are organized by month and due date. Select the month you’re looking for on the top of the chart. Search for due dates, contact info, amounts, and requirements.

United We DREAM

U.W.D.’s The DREAM Educational Empowerment Program (DEEP)

Description: DEEP educates, connects, and empowers immigrant students, parents and educators to close the opportunity gap and engage in local efforts to improve educational equity. (Scholarship list starts on page 4)

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