*Financing college for DACAmented and undocumented students

Can DACAmented or undocumented students receive financial aid?

The answer depends on the source of the financial aid funds.

Federal: Undocumented students are ineligible for all forms of federal financial aid.

State: In a limited number of states (Texas, New Mexico, California, Minnesota, and Washington), undocumented students are eligible to receive state grants and/or scholarships. Check your state’s policies at uleadnet.org/issue/map.

Institutional: Institutional policies vary widely. Many colleges do provide grants and scholarships to undocumented students. Students should check the scholarship/financial aid sections of each college’s website or contact each college.

Private scholarships: Scholarship eligibility criteria vary widely. If the application instructions do not clarify whether undocumented applicants are eligible, students can contact the scholarship organization.

Can students from mixed-status families receive federal financial aid? Should they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Students who are citizens or eligible non-citizens (e.g. permanent resident, refugee, asylee) should complete the FAFSA. They can receive federal financial aid regardless of the immigration status of their parents or other family members.

Most students under the age of 24 are required to provide parent information to qualify for federal financial aid. When completing the FAFSA, eligible students with undocumented parents should enter 000-00-0000 when asked for parents’ Social Security numbers. If neither parent has a Social Security number, the student should print and mail the signature page to complete the FAFSA. Make sure to start as early as possible. See Section C of the Department of Education’s fact sheet: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/financial-aid-and-undocumented-students.pdf

What states offer in-state tuition or state financial aid to DACAmented and undocumented students?

The uLEAD Network classifies sixteen states as Inclusive, defined as those whose policies “explicitly grant in-state tuition and/or eligibility for public financial aid for undocumented students.”

Others are classified as Restrictive, defined as those whose policies “explicitly deny eligibility for admission and/or in-state tuition for undocumented students.”

Many states are Unstipulated, meaning they “do not have stated policies that explicitly address undocumented student access to postsecondary education.”

Check your state’s policies at uleadnet.org/issue/map.

What is the difference between in-state tuition and state financial aid?

At most public colleges, the in-state tuition rate is lower for state residents than for students from other states. This difference reflects the historic commitment of public institutions to local communities as well as the financial support these residents have already provided through state and local taxes.

In some places, this in-state tuition policy applies to state residents regardless of immigration status. Undocumented students who meet certain criteria (such as attending high school in the state) are eligible for the same tuition rate as their classmates and neighbors. In other places, all undocumented students are charged the higher out-of-state tuition rate regardless of where they live or attended school.

Most states also have a state financial aid program to provide additional funds to residents who have significant financial need or meet certain academic goals. In Texas, New Mexico, California, Minnesota, and Washington, undocumented residents can receive state grants or scholarships if they meet certain eligibility criteria. However, in most parts of the country, the state financial aid program is not open to undocumented students.