Paying for college is expensive as is, but even more challenging when you are an undocumented student. Even though the undocumented community is not eligible for government-issued financial aid assistance, there are still various resources available including scholarships. Scholarships are ideal for all students because it is money that does not have to be paid back and awarded to students on their own merit. Below are just a few opportunities available to high school students looking for financial assistance to college.
A great resource when researching scholarships for undocumented students is the Immigrants Rising non-profit. They aim to provide a safe space for resources for undocumented students. A great scholarship serving students from the Los Angeles area is The Andres y Maria Cardenas Family Foundation Scholarship they are awarding students up to $3,000 to be eligible students must be under AB 540. Another scholarship offered to Angelinos is the SALEF Scholarship Fund to Salvadoran or Latinx students who attend high school within the city of Los Angeles, and students are eligible for up to $2,000.
Yet another great resource when researching scholarships for undocumented students is the scholarships.com website which offers a variety of different scholarships. The scholarships found on the scholarships.com page are so diverse there is an opportunity waiting for every student. Some scholarships include the PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship which encompasses Hispanic students who are looking to pursue higher education in the Arizona and California Central Valley. Another scholarship is the California Hispanic Education Endowment Fund with an award of 2,500. This scholarship is awarded to high school students from the Orange County area looking to pursue higher education. Students must be under the Dream Act/ SB540 act.
Students can also turn to the get schooled website which has over 50 scholarships for DACA students. Some of those scholarships include The Dream US Opportunity Scholarship for first-time college students offering up to $80,000 for student expenses. Another scholarship available is The Dream US National Scholarship which is open to both high school students and community college graduates. Students can be awarded up to $14,500 for an associate’s degree and $29,000 for those pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The Mexican-American Dream Scholarship is a scholarship offered to immigrant students or children of immigrants and Dream Act/AB 540 recipients looking to pursue higher education.
Students should never feel discouraged about applying for college because of financial restraints. Students should not let their citizen status determine their ability to pay for college. The Let’s Go Team is here to guide and provide resources to students to help aid them throughout their college experience.
NORTHRIDGE, CA- The California Dream Act was enacted in July 2011. Its purpose is to serve the undocumented community. It is meant to aid those ineligible for the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA). Thanks to the Dream Act, undocumented students no longer have to put higher education in limbo because of financial restraints. The application process could be a difficult journey but with the right resources and guidance, undocumented students can successfully apply to their dream school.
When applying to college there are various outlets of financial assistance one can seek. For undocumented students, however, the search for financial aid looks a little bit different. Eligibility and financial requirements when filling out the Dream Act can be verified through the Immigrants Rising website.
The application for the Dream Act can be found on the CADAA website. Changes to the application are made every year so it is important to actively keep up with the most recent modifications. Among those changes are an updated user-friendly website and mobile look. The new application takes after FAFSA’s simplistic look Student’s can refer to — for updates on the application on @CAstudentaid.
Laws supporting the undocumented community include AB540, SB68. AB540 is a California law enacted in 2001 intended to allow eligible students to pay in-state tuition at community colleges, California State Universities (CSU’s), and Universities of California (UC’s).
SB 68 is an expansion of AB540. SB68 allows students to count their years in a community college or adult school and have them count towards their eligibility requirements for AB540. Requirements can be verified through the Immigrants Rising Quick Guide to SB68.
There are various financial aid resources available to the undocumented community in addition to the Dream Act like scholarships and grants! California students can turn to Cal Grants for extra financial aid. Eligible students can apply for a Cal Grant through the CA Dream Act. For more details visit Immigrants Rising checklist for the CA Dream Act and Cal Grant.
To keep up with scholarships, grants and deadlines follow our @gotocollege Instagram page to stay connected!
The creation of the California Dream Loan was first introduced by then-Senator Lara back in 2014. Then in 2018, Assemblymember Ian Calderon introduced AB1895 and it was signed by the California governor. AB1895 provided repayment programs based on someone’s income for the loan. The latest piece of legislation signed by Governor Newson was SB354 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo which expanded the Dream Loan program to graduate students.
How to apply and know you if are eligible
Students are eligible if they are enrolled at a CSU or a UC where the loan is currently being provided and they are enrolled as an AB540 student. Students may also be eligible if they file the California act application with the financial aid office and show that they are in financial need. Students need to keep in mind that the loan is provided on a main campus basis so they have to make sure to talk to their campus because it is not administered by anyone else.
Important details about California Dream Loans
- The interest rate that you agree upon in your contract can not change, it is a fixed interest rate and the interest rates are the same as federal student loans.
- Just like federal student loans, you have a six-month grace period before you have to pay it back.
- There is an income-based payment program that schools have come up with. This is based on what you are making as someone who has entered their career and are you eligible to repay this program.
To learn more about CA Dream Loans click the video below!
You have applied for FAFSA, the CA DREAM ACT, scholarships, so now what comes next? Budgeting! Budgeting your aid is a great way to assure all your needs are met while also giving you the ability to plan around how much money you will receive/ have left. Immigrant Rising has conducted a budgeting worksheet to make it easier for you!
On this worksheet, you lay out your cost of attendance, your scholarship money, your CA grant money, and any other methods of income. By laying out your aid, you are able to see which college is the BEST for you by the aid they give you as well as allowing you to petition for even more aid. To access this worksheet and more resources for undocumented students follow the links below!
Resources – IMMIGRANTS RISING
Undocumented Student Budget Worksheet
Applying for college can be difficult when you don’t know where to even begin. It is even harder when you might not be eligible for all the resources offered to first-generation college students due to citizenship status. However, Immigrant Rising has gathered a quick guide for undocumented students to make applying to college easier! In this quick guide, you get information about AB-540/SB-68: In-State Tuition & Residency Requirements, the California Dream Act ( General Info, Ideal Timeline, Step and Tools), and Scholarships and other resources.
AB 540/SB 68: In-State Tuition & Residency Requirements:
In this section of the quick guide, you get detailed information about in-state tuition. This includes information like:
- Differences between CA In-State Tuition (AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68), CA Dream Act, and DACA,
- Learn how in-state tuition eligibility has expanded to include community colleges (credit/noncredit) & adult schools in CA,
- Learn how California residency and AB 540/SB 68 affect the amount of tuition that you pay at CA public colleges & universities.
California Dream Act and State-Based Financial Aid:
In this section, this quick guide offers easy access to information about the California Dream Act and other state-based aid offered to undocumented students. This information includes:
- What kinds of financial aid and institutional scholarships you can apply for through the CA Dream Act
- Understand the four phases required to successfully complete the California Dream Act application and receive the maximum amount of aid for which you are eligible
- Checklists and Timeline for the CA Dream Act and Cal Grant
Scholarships and Other Resources:
Apart from the Dream Act and Cal Grant, undocumented students are eligible to other aid through scholarships. The guide offers:
- Scholarship Search Chart
- Scholarship Writing Support
- Undocuhustle Learning Hub
- CCOP’s CA Undocumented Student Resource Map
To access these resources and more you can visit QUICK GUIDE TO COLLEGE ACCESS FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS IN CALIFORNIA. You can also visit IMMIGRANTS RISING – TRANSFORMING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION to access even more resources involving college, immigration, mental health etc.! College is possible for everyone with the right resources.
After submitting the CA Dream Act Application, you may be asked to verify the information you provided about your income. Don’t worry, you did not do anything wrong if you are selected; a percentage of all applicants are required to verify income as general practice. If you happen to be selected, follow the steps below!
- Know if you have you have to verify your income
Not all CA Dream Act applicants are required to verify their income. You will know if you must verify your income via email or schools’ online portals. If you do not receive any notification about verifying income, then you do not need to take additional steps at the moment.
2. Know if you are Dependent or Independent Student
You are Dependent if you are all of the following:
- under 24 years old or born after 1/1/98,
- not legally married (single),
- have no children or other dependents,
- and are pursuing an undergraduate degree.
If you are Dependent then you MUST provide information on BOTH your income and your parents’ income. Even if you do not live with your parents or receive their financial support, you must provide their information. Some exceptions on this may apply depending on school.
You are Independent if you are at least one of the following:
- over 24 years old or born before 1/1/98,
- legally married,
- have children or other dependents for whom you provide 50% of their support,
- a veteran or active duty,
- an orphan or ward of the court,
- at risk of homelessness,
- have a special circumstance,
- or pursuing a graduate degree.
If you are Independent, then you will only provide income information about yourself.
3. Know if you and/or your parents are Tax Filers
If you and/or your parents file taxes, be prepared to obtain the 2019 tax return transcript (note: this is different from the tax account transcript). You may request the tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for free online or through the phone. The person requesting the transcript must be the one who signed the taxes; someone else is not allowed.
If you and/or your parents do not file taxes, prepare the following information/documents:
- all 2019 household income earned,
- financial assistance or benefits (if received),
- a copy of W-2 form(s).
Be aware that if you or your parents earned over the IRS income filing limits, you may be required to file taxes in order to receive a financial aid award.
If you and/or your parents do not file taxes because of cash payment and do not have a W-2 form, you must explain the circumstances in the school verification worksheet. You may be required to include proof of non-filing from the IRS.
4. Fill our the Income Verification Worksheet
After you have determined where you stand with dependent/independent status and tax filing status, you will fill out the Income Verification Worksheet. A standard worksheet asks about/for the following:
- Household Size: The rules of the CA Dream Application define households as you (the student); the biological or adoptive parents; siblings under the age of 24 in most cases; and/or other dependents for whom the parents are financially responsible (such as an elderly or disabled person). Additional family members or individuals that live within the home, but do not meet these requirements should not be included in the household.
- Marital Status: Indicate whether the parent or you are single, married, separated or divorced, or widowed. Parents who are living together, but are not married should choose that option.
- Tax Filing Status: Indicate whether you and/or parent or spouse is a tax filer or a non-tax filer.
- Financial Aid Received: List the amount of grants or scholarships you received during 2020 and the school(s) attended.
- Child Support Paid: List the amount of any child support paid in 2020, including the child’s name, the name of the person who paid child support, and the name of the person to whom it was paid.
- SNAP Benefits Received: Indicate whether you and/or your parents received SNAP benefits in 2020 or 2021. Documentation from the agency that issued SNAP benefits may be required upon request.
- Certification and Signature: By signing the verification worksheet, you and/or your parent certify that all the information is true. Signing also authorizes the Financial Aid Office to update the student’s California Dream Application per CSAC guidelines and the information provided.
- Additional Documentation: An individual college or university has the right to ask for additional documentation regarding household size or income earned if it is necessary to gain an adequate understanding of how household expenses were met for 2020.
- Multiple Schools: If you listed more than one school on the CA Dream Application, you will be required to complete income verification at each school individually.
It is natural to feel overwhelmed by this process! Remember that this is standard procedure for a certain percentage of students who apply for the Dream Act. Do not be discouraged. We, and many others, are here to support you through the process!
FAFSA vs. Dream Act: What’s the Difference?
Money is one of the biggest deciding factors for incoming college students. Depending on how much aid students are able to receive, it then shifts what college they attend, how many semesters they will attend, how much they will loan, etc. Immigrant Rising’s FAFSA vs Dream Act info sheet gives a quick overview of the differences between FAFSA and the Dream Act as to what they are, who can apply, and the requirements for each. Below is some FAQ’s that can help you decide which aid to apply for!
Who is eligible?
- Legal Permanent Residents
- Eligible Non- Citizens (per FAFSA)
- T visa holders
DREAM Act AB 540/ SB 68 Eligible Students Who Are:
- Undocumented individuals;
- DACAmented individuals; and U visa holders
- TPS Protected Status
Who is NOT eligible?
- DACAmented students
- Undocumented individuals
- Any visa holder (except U)
- Legal Permanent Residents
- Eligible Non-Citizens (per FAFSA)
Requirements for Financial Aid to be Awarded:
- Department of Homeland Security and SocialSecurity Administration crosscheck student name, social security number, and birthdate to verify that all FAFSA eligibility requirements are met;
- All other eligibility for federal and state aid is met
- School verifies student meets AB 540/ SB 68
- Some schools may require a student’s AB 540/ SB 68 status to be approved prior to awarding state financial aid
- All other eligibility state aid is met
Requirements for Financial Aid to Be Released to Pay Outstanding Balances:
- Admission into an approved degree or certificate degree
- Minimum Unit requirements
- Satisfactory Academic Progress
Approval as AB 540/ SB 68 student and:
- Admission into an approved degree or
- Minimum Unit requirements
- Satisfactory Academic Progress
For more information visit FAFSA vs CA Dream Act – Apply to the Correct Financial Aid in CA!
Simply put, the AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 Affidavit allows undocumented students to be charged in-state tuition, rather than out-of-state tuition. Read more about the Affidavit below!
Should I fill out the Affidavit?
If you are a new incoming college student who is:
- a Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantee,
- a student with T or U nonimmigrant status,
- under Temporary Protected Status (TPS),
- a Lawful Permanent Resident, OR
- classified as any kind of nonresident
You meet the eligibility criteria for AB 540, AB 2000, or SB 68, and should fill out the Affidavit.
Note: Students who have been admitted to the U.S. on a temporary nonimmigrant visa (with the exception of T & U Visas holders) are not eligible to apply for the nonresident tuition exemption.
Why should I fill out an affidavit?
For two main reasons:
- If you are not classified as a state resident, you will be charged non-resident fees until your affidavit and necessary documentation are submitted and processed at the school you plan to attend.
- Additionally, you will not be eligible to receive your California Dream Act financial aid until your affidavit is processed.
What documentation do I have to submit?
There are two types of documentation you may be required to submit with the affidavit:
- An official copy of your transcripts from:
- a CA High School or the equivalent (GED),
- a California Community College (credit or non-credit),
- an Adult School, OR
- a combination of these transcripts.
- Proof that you have or will have graduated with:
- a high school diploma or the equivalent (GED or CHSPE),
- an Associate’s Degree from a California Community College, OR
- proof that you will have completed the minimum requirements for transfer to a CSU or UC.
Note: If you have three years of high school coursework, and attended a combination of three years at CA elementary & secondary schools, you may also be required to submit your transcripts from these schools.
When should I submit my affidavit?
You should submit your affidavit prior to the deadline listed at your school. This is usually sometime after you receive your acceptance letter and prior to your new student orientation. Continuing students should not be required to submit a new affidavit, once it’s been approved unless they have not attended classes for a full year and need to reapply to the school.
Where should I submit my affidavit?
You must submit your affidavit to the Admissions or Registrar’s Office at the college or university you plan to attend. Once you submit it, you should follow-up within the next 2 weeks to BE SURE that the College or University received all the necessary paperwork.
How do I complete the Affidavit?
Fill out your full name, student ID number, address, email, and schools attended, including dates and length of time. You will also be required to attest that you meet the eligibility criteria. You must check the immigration box that pertains to you and sign the form.
- T or U non-immigrant or refugee status students should consult with their school before completing the affidavit. AB 1899 allows individuals who have been granted T or U status to be considered for in-state tuition eligibility without waiting a year if they meet the criteria described above. Under AB 343, refugees, T and U visa holders may also be eligible to pay in-state rates immediately, under another exception for these students, if they settled originally in California.
- Students who do NOT have a current nonimmigrant status, including students who are undocumented, DACA recipients, have TPS, Lawful Permanent Residents, and other lawfully residing immigrants should check the SECOND box.
Check out these sites to see how the Affidavit looks like for a community college, a CSU, and a UC.
For more information about submitting an affidavit go here: Submitting the AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 Affidavit
Scholarships are a great way to help pay student tuition. Scholarships are hard to come across, especially when trying to find scholarships tailored for you. Whether you are in high school or college, you should be applying to scholarships because tuition changes and so do our own personal lives. Below are 5 scholarships due this month! Be sure to check the eligibility requirements before you start your application. Best of luck, y’all got this!
5 scholarships due in November
1. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship
Due: November 13, 2020
Academic Level: College Junior or Senior
Field of Study: Any
- Planning to enroll full-time in a baccalaureate program at an accredited college or university in fall 2021
- Demonstrate financial need
- Students who have attended a 4-year institution in the past are not eligible for this scholarship
- GPA requirement: 3.5
Link: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship
2. MPower Global Citizen Scholarship
Due: November 15, 2020
Award: $1,000 – $3,000
Academic Level: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student
Field of Study: Any
- Enrolled or accepted full-time in a degree-granting program at a U.S. or Canadian school that MPOWER supports
- Must be DACA-eligible or authorized to work in the U.S.
Link: MPower Global Citizen Scholarship
3. NSHSS Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award
Due: November 15, 2020
Academic Level: High School Junior or Senior
Region: National Field of
- Demonstrate commitment to expanding the diversity and inclusion initiatives in their school, community or workplace
Link: NSHSS Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award
4. Emery Reddy Scholarship for Legal Studies
Due: November 28, 2020
Academic Level: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student
Field of Study: Legal Studies and Law
- Interest in pursuing careers in the legal field
Link: Emery Reddy Scholarship for Legal Studies
5. Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders
Due: November 30, 2020
Award: $500 – $1,000
Academic Level: High School Senior, College Freshman or Junior
Field of Study: Any
- Enrolled or accepted full-time in an accredited 4-year or 2-year institution in the U.S.
- At least one parent must be of Hispanic ancestry
- Demonstrate financial need
Link: Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders
Click here for scholarships due in November scroll down to page 70 of the PDF
IMMIGRANTS RISING SCHOLARSHIP & FELLOWSHIP LISTS
Undergraduate Scholarship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/undergraduate-scholarships/
Undergraduate Fellowship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/undergraduate-fellowships/
Graduate Scholarship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/graduate-scholarships/
Fellowship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/graduate-fellowships/
Check out these additional databases of scholarships and fellowships available for undocumented young people:
Dreamers Roadmap: www.dreamersroadmap.com/scholarships/
Geneseo Migrant Center: http://migrant.net/scholarships/
My Undocumented Life: https://mydocumentedlife.org/
Scholarships A-Z: http://www.scholarshipsaz.org/
Silicon Valley Community Foundation: https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/scholarships
The College Expo:https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/resources/scholarships
CAUTION: Scholarship requirements and deadlines often change from year to year. Please double-check all information listed below with the scholarship directly. If you find any errors, please email us at communications@ immigrantsrising.org so we can update the list
Credit: Immigrants Rising