Hi, Scholars! With all of the political back and forth going on about immigration reform, I wanted to do a post for undocumented students. Undocumented students face unique challenges on their path to higher ed, but earning a degree—and getting financial aid—is possible. Undocumented students should make sure to keep up with the ever changing immigration laws as they assess their options. These five tips will help to demystify the application process for undocumented applicants.
1. While there are no federal or state laws prohibiting the admission of undocumented immigrants to U.S. colleges, state governments may ban undocumented applicants from attending public colleges.
2. Tuition equity laws/policies provide undocumented students residing in a given state with in-state tuition and fees. Find out if your state or school has tutuion equity.
3. Undocumented students are ineligible for federal financial aid. However, individual states and colleges can offer separate financial aid packages to undocumented students.
4. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students often have more access to higher education than undocumented immigrants without DACA. This is because DACA status indicates a “lawful presence”. However, DACA students are not guaranteed in-state tuition or state aid where they reside—each state individually legislates this.
5. Undocumented applicants should talk to admissions or program staff about whether degrees in the major of interest typically lead to background checks, certificates or state licensures for which an undocumented student would be ineligible.