Scholarship Opportunities for Undocumented Students

Last updated: April 23, 2019

For students across the United States, the college application process can feel lengthy and complex. Not to mention the substantial resources required, and the tools necessary to navigate the collegiate landscape; all before stepping foot into the classroom. But of the 11.3 million undocumented individuals currently residing in the U.S, there are thousands of students falling into this category that often receive less resources to continue their education and bring value back into the community they grew up in.

Despite undocumented students inability to receive federal funding, there are still many options available to receive support. With private institutional funding and the state college’s independent decision to allocate scholarships, the American dream is possible beyond borders.

Your strengths and passions are the best way to stand out and allow yourself be heard during the application process. Do you have a favorite hobby? Love to volunteer? The more you can show how you give back to your community, the more the application committee will see your value.

But the road to your degree is made up of more than just passion and strength; it’s a costly investment. However, the sooner you start learning about your options for financing your college education, the sooner you can begin chasing it.

How to Pay for College


Private Institutions

This is the most common way undocumented students can receive support towards their education, most of which are created by private institutions that are free to set their own financial aid policies and award scholarships.


In-State-Tuition Colleges

Some colleges offering in-state tuition have scholarships available specifically for undocumented students and/or underrepresented groups and affiliates. To learn more, contact your local state colleges to see what options are available to you.


If you’re just beginning the process of finding suitable scholarships, make sure you’re prepared for the application process by starting a folder with the assets below.

Scholarship Application Preparation

This is your opportunity to get creative and show your personality as more than just an application candidate. Find ways to express your background, your challenges, goals, motivations and passions. This is your chance to show why you’re a good match!
Your scholarship essay is what will bring attention to your application out of the pool of applicants. That’s why it’s important to craft a stand out piece that attests to your experience, adheres to the scholarship guidelines and most importantly, highlights your true personality.
Not all scholarships are based off of your GPA, but most need to verify your education credentials to qualify. Try to get certified copies of your transcript early, so you have plenty of time to meet the deadline.
Although there are scholarship opportunities that aren’t merit-based, it’s valuable to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests in case it’s a scholarship qualification.
Letters of recommendation are a true judgement of your character—something that can’t be revealed through your test scores or transcript. Reach out to former teachers, counselors or bosses, so that they can speak to your qualifications. Determine the specific guidelines for each letter of recommendation and provide these specifications, to make this as easy as possible for your letter writers.
To help fund your degree, follow our guide and use the interactive tool to sort through 40 of the most targeted scholarship opportunities for undocumented students based on award amount or need-based aid.

Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Instructions: Click through the dropdowns below to sort by award amount or if you’re looking for need-based aid. Click the box for a larger view.

Ceasar Chavez Latino Education Fund

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 1, 2020

Latino students in Arizona and California are qualified to apply. Scholarships are based solely on academic performance, leadership, extracurricular activities, commitment to volunteer service and financial need.

TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: November 1, 2019

This scholarship is available to high school seniors or graduates who live in a targeted locked-out state and have a GPA of 2.8 or higher. Cannot be currently enrolled in a four-year college. Must have come to the U.S. before 16th birthday and must have DACA or TPS or certify that they have met the immigration eligibility criteria.

Freedom from Religion Foundation Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award - this link is no longer active and I couldn't find the award by searching online

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: June 21, 2019

This award is available to high school students who identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist and/or secular and are the first in their families to attend an accredited two or four-year colleges or university. Preference will be given to students of color, and students who have been in foster care, homeless, undocumented or LGBTQ. Applicants will be chosen based on the strength of their essay.

The Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest

Amount: $500-$1,500

Deadline: July 31, 2019

Students must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. institution. Must attend a U.S. university with a 2.75 GPA or higher to be eligible to win.

California Strawberry Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 1, 2020

First-time applicants must have a parent employed as a California strawberry field worker for eligibility. Must be a full-time student in a trade program and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

UCLA Graduate Education Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: December 15, 2019

Several awards are available of up to $5,000 each, from which fees are paid, for graduate students in any field of study who are blind or who have a severe vision impairment. Proof of financial need via copy of DREAM Act Application (for California AB540 students).

Emerging Economy Fellowship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

The Emerging Economy Fellowships are offered to support students in the Wharton University of Pennsylvania, specifically for students from economies throughout the world. You must be from a country with an emerging economy and demonstrate financial need to be eligible for this award.

Forte Fellows Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

For consideration for a fellowship, students must be accepted into an MBA program at one of the Forte sponsored schools. Preference for women that demonstrate academic and creative leadership and community involvment.

San Jose State University : Bertha Kalm Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

This scholarship is available to support graduate students in any field of instruction who need financial assistance to continue their education and demonstrate a desire to make a difference for humanity. Students will be evaluated based on their personal statement and financial need.

Latinos in Technology Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

The Latinos in Technology Scholarship was established to support Hispanic community in Silicon Valley. This program will give up to 100 Latino student to graduate from college with an educational opportunity. The scholarship is need-based specifically for residents of specific Northern California counties.

National College Match

Amount: full four-year tuition

Deadline: September 27, 2019

This program pairs high-achieving, low-income students with 38 of the nations top colleges, and awards full four-year scholarships including room and board to QuestBride scholars. Based on class rank, test scores, and evidence of strong writing, intellectual spark, and perserverance are taken into account through the selection process.

Simplr Artificial Intelligence and Technology Scholarship

Amount: $7,500

Deadline: December 31, 2019

Simplr is offering a $7,500 scholarship to the student that writes the best essay on Artificial Intelligence. Students must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science, math, information technology (IT) or a law degree. Students studying under the DACA program are eligible. For more information and for the essay prompt, visit their website.