Last updated: October 13, 2017

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

1

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.

 
2

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.

Support Creativity Graduate + Undergraduate Scholarships

Amount: $1,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: May 5, 2018

Must be a passionate creative student, attend a college or graduate school in the New York tri-state area, major in any creative field, and submit the application for consideration.

Forte Fellows Program

Amount: Varies

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

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.

Emerging Economy Fellowship

Amount: Varies

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

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.

First in the Family Humanist Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Awards Available: 4

Deadline: June 10, 2018

Scholarships will be awarded to graduating LAUSD seniors who are first in their immediate families to go to college. Preference will go to students who have been in foster care, homeless, undocumented students, and/or LGBTQ.

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

Amount: $23,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: February 15, 2018

Must be a resident of Illinois to apply. Students with a GPA of 2.5 with SAT/ACT composite scores meeting the required minimum will be considered for this scholarship.

Golden Door Scholars

Amount: Varies

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: October 27, 2017

Applicants from states where DACA or TPS should have strong academic performance. Students attending community college or public universities paying out-of-state-tuition are perfered.

Latino Resources College Scholarship Fund

Amount: $2,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: May 31, 2018

This program invests in Latino students that demonstrate excellence in academics, community engagement, leadership and financial aid. Students pursuing two-to-four year universities, community colleges, and vocational schools may apply.

PepsiCo Ceasar Chavez Latino Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Awards Available: 10

Deadline: May 31, 2018

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.

South Carolina Teaching Fellows

Amount: $24,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: December 1, 2017

To apply, you must be a legal resident of South Carolina, as a high school senior or junior graduating early. U.S. citizens and TPS may apply.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund College Scholarships

Amount: $500-$5000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: April 2, 2018

The HSF Scholarship is for Hispanic students currently enrolled full-time at an accredited 4 year university with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. Awards are based on merit.

TheDream Community College Graduate + First Time Scholarships

Amount: up to $25,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: March 8, 2018

Applicants must have earned their associates degree from a community college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Must intend to enroll full-time in a bachelors degree program and be eligible for in-state tuition. Financial need will be considered heavily.

United Methodist GBHEM Scholarships

Amount: up to $10,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Applicants are only required to submit one application for consideration for all scholarships. Must be an active member of the United Methodist Church for at least one year prior to application. Must also be pursuing a degree at an accredited university with a GPA of 2.5 or higher for consideration.

TheDream First Time Student Scholarship

Amount: $20,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: June 9, 2018

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.

New Leader Scholarship

Amount: $8,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: March 10, 2018

Must attend a full-time accredited university for eligibility. Preference towards students that demonstrate financial need, recent immigration, and people of color that demonstrate leadership capacities. Community service is favored.

Good Tidings Community Service Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Awards Available: 10

Deadline: October 26, 2017

High school seniors are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Must demonstrate financial need, and a resident of participating California counties.

UCLA Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship

Amount: $25,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: December 15, 2017

This four-year fellowship program supports students entering Ph.D. programs and are interested in teaching and research. Fellows may not be employed during the first quarter of the fellowship.

Hit the Books Scholarship

Amount: $500

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: September 20, 2017

Students who are between the ages of 18 and 25 enrolled in an accredited university are eligible to apply. Winners will be selected based on a 500-word essay about the importance of education.

San Jose State University : Bertha Kalm Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

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.

Herbert Lehman Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Awards Available: 1

Deadline: May 1, 2018

Student must be enrolled in a full-time accredited university. Must have a record of excellence in academic achievement and commitment to community service.

The Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest

Amount: $500-$1,500

Awards Available: 3

Deadline: July 31, 2018

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.

Point Foundation Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: January 30, 2018

Students must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. institution. Must identify as LGBTQ affiliated. Community college students, trade students or online programs do not qualify.

eQuality Scholarship

Amount: $6,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Applicants must be a resident of northern or central California but may study elsewhere. Must plan to attend an accredited graduate program or trade school for consideration.

Foster Care to Success Scholarship

Amount: $2,500-$5,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: March 31, 2018

Applicants must have been a child of the foster care system or orphaned. Students must be accepted into an accredited institution and under the age of 25 to apply.

UCLA : Dr. Ursula Mandel Scholarship

Amount: $15,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: December 15, 2017

Several awards of up to 15,000 are awarded to graduate students of UCLA within the fields of science and medical. Prefered candidates have a doctorate as their degree objective.

LMSA Scholarship for US Medical Students

Amount: $500-$1,000

Awards Available: 5

Deadline: January 1, 2018

Applicants must be seniors in college with the intention of pursuing an advanced degree in a U.S. medical school. Personal qualities, financial need and academic/extracurricular activities will be considered in the process.

Ted Rollins Eco Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Awards Available: 1

Deadline: June 15, 2018

Students planning on or already enrolled in a major relating to the field of sustainability are eligible to apply. Must take at least 10 credit hours.

Davis-Putter Scholarship

Amount: $1,000-$10,000

Awards Available: 30

Deadline: April 1, 2018

Students must demonstrate active involvment in progressive movements such as racism, sexism and other forms of oppression. Preference for students with intention of working in social services in the U.S.

Earl Warren Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Awards Available: 5

Deadline: June 1, 2018

This scholarship is for graduate students planning to attend a law program. Must demonstrate a defined interest in civil rights through academics. Must also show wide-range of extracurriculars to demonstrate a well-rounded candidate.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

Amount: Varies

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Open to all US citizens and DACA status students are eligible to apply. Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement and those committed to a career in teaching or research at the university level are perferred.

California Strawberry Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: October 1, 2018

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.

A.W. Bodine-Sunkist Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

This scholarship was established in memory of distinguished director of Sunkist Growers and agricultural leader, to provide funds for undergraduate students from Arizona or California agricultural backgrounds who are in need of financial assistance. GPA and extracurriculars must demonstrate potential for success.

National College Match

Amount: full four-year tuition

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: September 27, 2017

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.

College Scholarship Program

Amount: up to $40,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: April 21, 2018

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need and high-achievment in academics to attend the nations best universities. Scholars are chosen based on exceptional academics and achievement, financial need, leadership, persistence and service to others.

Microsoft Minority Scholarship

Amount: full one-year tuition, monthly stipend, internship

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: January 31, 2018

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a full-time bachelor's degree program at a university in the U.S, Canada, or Mexico. Must show satisfactory progress towards a degree in computer science or related fields. Must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Amount: $1,000-$10,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Graduating seniors regardless of citizenship status are encouraged to submit a portfolio of their art or writing for consideration for this creative award. Artists will be selected based on the quality of their originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal vision or voice.

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

Amount: $2,000-$5,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: Varies

The National Association for Hispanic Journalists scholarship opportunities are open to college-bound high school seniors, college undergraduates and graduate students pursuing careers in English or Spanish print, broadcast, digital, or photojournalism. Students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher are eligible for these national scholarships.

Atlas Shrugged' Essay Contest

Amount: up to $10,000

Awards Available: Varies

Deadline: May 2018

This contest is open worldwide. Entries must be written in English, and applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree for consideration. Judges will look for writing that is clear, logical, and articulate.

Sources