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

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.

TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: November 1, 2020

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.

Latinos in Technology Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: November 25, 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.

South Carolina Teaching Fellows

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 1, 2020

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.

UCLA Graduate Education Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: December 15, 2020

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).

University of California Presidential Fellowship for UCLA Undocumented AB540 Graduate Students

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 15, 2020

Awards are available for UCLA graduate students with undocumented AB540 status.Proof of financial need via copy of DREAM Act Application (for California AB540 students).

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 17, 2020

Applicants for this award must be a U.S. citizen with evidence of superior academic achievement to apply. Students pursuing a teaching career at the university level are preferred.

Simplr Artificial Intelligence and Technology Scholarship

Amount: $7,500

Deadline: December 31, 2020

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.

Ceasar Chavez Latino Education Fund

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 1, 2021

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.

Forte Fellows Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2021

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.

Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 21, 2021

Applicants must write an essay on an ethical issue they have encountered and discuss what it taught them about ethics and themselves. Sample essay topics can be found on the website.

eQuality Scholarship

Amount: $6,000

Deadline: January 31, 2021

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.

California Strawberry Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 1, 2021

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.

Tam Tran Scholarship for Undocumented Students

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 19, 2021

The Tam Tran Scholarship is available for undocumented students residing in Rhode Island.

Support Creativity Graduate + Undergraduate Scholarships

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, 2021

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.

San Jose State University : Bertha Kalm Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 1, 2021

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.

Golden Door Scholars

Amount: Varies

Deadline: September 16, 2021

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.

Golden Door Scholars

Amount: Varies

Deadline: September 30, 2021

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.