Although undocumented students are ineligible for federal student aid from the United States, there are other forms of financial assistance available for college, such as scholarships for undocumented students. Scholarships are awards provided by companies, organizations, and colleges to help pay for the tuition of the students who earn them. There are some scholarships only for undocumented students, while others are general scholarships that do not require applicants to possess citizenship or be a permanent resident of the United States. If you or someone you may know is undocumented and considering going to college, the list below describes 30 scholarships that may be able to help financially.
1. Ascend Educational Fund Scholarship
Ascend Educational Fund offers a scholarship to immigrant students graduating from a high school in the city of New York. The graduating high school student must be planning to attend a college or university, and they and their parents must be born in a country other than the United States. The scholarship amounts vary by student and may be between $2,500 to $20,000. Scholarship payments are made to the student’s chosen college or university within a span of two to four years. Each awardee must maintain a 2.5 GPA and submit reports on their progress to the Ascend Educational Fund.
2. Chin: Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship
Annually, the Asian Pacific Fund provides unique scholarship opportunities to students. The Chin: Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship is an excellent scholarship for immigrant students who wish to attend college. This scholarship award is for incoming and current undergraduate students with a 3.0 GPA. Applicants or their parents must formerly or currently work in an Asian-owned or Asian cuisine restaurant. Another valuable quality is to have experience advocating for Asian Americans, immigrants, LGBTQ, and related progressive causes. Two winners are chosen per year and will receive $1,000 each.
3. Dream Scholarship
The Dream Scholarship was created by The Anhelo Project, a non-profit organization in Chicago that provides support and assistance to undocumented individuals interested in pursuing higher education in Illinois. For a decade, this organization has given 60 scholarships for Dreamers to assist these individuals with pursuing their passions and accomplishing their dreams. High school seniors, undergraduate, and graduate students are welcome to apply. Applicants must be undocumented individuals, residents of Illinois, possess a 2.5 GPA, and be willing to volunteer with The Anhelo Project for 20 hours a week. DACA status is not a requirement to apply.
4. Que Llueva Café Scholarship
The Que Llueva Café Scholarship was implemented by a non-profit organization called CORE. Applicants are evaluated based on their personal stories, extra-curricular activities, and academic promise. CORE has awarded almost $100,000 to undocumented students throughout the United States over the past 12 years. The purpose of this scholarship is to help immigrants earn a higher education in the United States despite the roadblocks put in their way. The Que Llueva Café Scholarship is only open to high school or GED graduates planning to enroll in a college or university in the United States for the very first time.
5. Esperanza Education Scholarship
The Esperanza Education Fund offers an undocumented student scholarship. The interested applicant or their parents must be born in a country other than the United States. They also must be getting ready to attend a public college or university full-time, possess a family income of less than $100,000, and graduating from a high school or GED program in D.C., Virginia, or Maryland. The award amount for this scholarship varies from $5,000 to $20,000 per student and will be paid to the selected college or university in installment payments over the student’s four years of higher education.
6. LAEF Scholarship
The Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF) has developed scholarships for undocumented immigrants who wish to earn a higher education. The LAEF Scholarships are available for Hispanic individuals residing in the state of Colorado. Applicants must possess a 3.0 GPA and be a graduating high school senior, undergraduate college student, or a graduate college student. To apply for this scholarship, a written statement of 1,000 words or less and two recommendation letters are mandatory. Citizenship or permanent legal residency is not a requirement to be considered.
7. Tam Tran Scholarship
A scholarship for immigrants in the state of Rhode Island, the Tam Tran Scholarship, is sponsored by the Tam Tran Scholarship Fund. The goal of this organization is to provide scholarships for DACA students as well as undocumented students. All applicants must be attending a high school in Rhode Island and planning to earn a higher education at a university or college in Rhode Island. Chosen winners for this scholarship will receive $500 each. Grants are also available through the Tam Tran Scholarship Fund for DACA and undocumented students who wish to go to college.
8. AFTE Scholarship
Every year, the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE) provides $2,000 in scholarship awards to individuals who have a 3.0 GPA and are interested in studying forensic science. Only applicants who are in their third year or higher of their bachelor’s degree or earning an advanced degree, such as a master’s or PhD program, will be considered for the AFTE Scholarship. In addition, all applicants must be studying natural, physical, or biological science with a goal to pursue a career in forensic science.
9. Alisa’s Angels Scholarship
The Alisa’s Angels Foundation implemented the Alisa’s Angels Scholarship in honor of Alisa, who was dedicated to helping others. Each year, eight recipients are selected for this scholarship of $5,000. Applicants must be graduating high school in Arizona or Colorado Springs, Colorado and demonstrate dedication to providing assistance to others. Only students with a 2.75 or higher GPA will be considered. The winners of this scholarship will receive $2,500 their first year of college, and the remaining award will be given after determining if they are in good academic standing.
10. Jane DeGrace Crandall Memorial Scholarship
The Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley features the Jane DeGrace Crandall Memorial Scholarship in honor of a former educator in the community. The objective of this scholarship is to provide college financial assistance for a migrant farmer or a child of a migrant farmer. Only recipients who migrated to the counties of Orange, Dutchess, Rockland, Putnam, Westchester, Sullivan, or Ulster in New York state will be chosen. To apply, individuals must write a 300-word essay and submit two letters of recommendation. The award amount varies by student, but all recipients will receive $1,000 at minimum.
11. Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Contest
The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity has developed an essay contest for students to earn money toward their college tuition. To join this contest, the applicant must write about any ethical issue they have experienced and what it has taught them. Five winners are selected for this competition annually. The grand prize winner will be awarded $5,000. The runner up will receive $2,500, and the third-place winner will receive $1,500. The fourth and fifth-place winners will be awarded $500 each. Only college juniors and seniors who live in the United States may enter the contest.
12. Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students
The well-known Columbia University has implemented the Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students (CUSDS) to help immigrant students receive the same opportunity as other students, which is earning a higher education at Columbia University. Those who receive this scholarship will have their college tuition and housing paid for as well as their living expenses. The university is dedicated to giving $6 million annually toward the education of 30 recipients of the CUSDS Scholarship. This scholarship is only awarded to immigrant students who have been accepted to one of Columbia University’s degree programs.
13. Dr. Amanda Perez Scholarship
In 2008, the Dr. Amanda Perez Scholarship was created by the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) in hopes of helping individuals from around the world pursue their dream career in medicine. Applicants must be a high school senior or freshman in college, committed to helping Latino and underserved communities, and show dedication to earning a career in medicine. Considered residents must be a member of the LMSA-West and live in Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, and Idaho. Citizenship is not a requirement.
14. MarvelOptics.com National Scholarship Contest
A widely known eyeglass company, MarvelOptics.com, is sponsoring a scholarship competition called the MarvelOptics.com National Scholarship Contest. The purpose of this scholarship opportunity is to help students conquer the obstacles that stand in the way of their career dreams, such as college tuition. All full-time college students are invited to enter this scholarship competition. A 300-word minimum essay is required to participate and will be written on a famous quote by Hellen Keller. The award amount is $3,000, which will be paid in two different payments. The recipient will receive $1,500 toward their fall semester tuition and $1,500 toward their spring semester tuition.
15. Point Community College Scholarship
Since 2016, the Point Foundation has been offering the Point Community College Scholarship. This scholarship is for LGBTQ students who need help paying for their community college tuition. The goal of this scholarship is to help individuals attending community colleges earn their associate degrees or transfer to a four-year college or university. Each chosen student will receive between $2,000 to $8,000 toward their college tuition annually. A personal academic coach will also be assigned to help the student stay on course to graduate or transfer.
16. Ford Foundation Fellowship
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine sponsors the Ford Foundation Fellowship to help encourage diversity among the colleges and universities around the nation. The main purpose of this fellowship program is to increase the number of professors at colleges who will include diversity in their teachings. The different types of fellowships provided in this national competition are the Predoctoral, Dissertation, and Postdoctoral fellowships. Applicants must be in excellent academic standing and show interest and dedication to pursuing a career in research and teaching at a university or college.
17. AAUW International Fellowship
Each year, AAUW offers the International Fellowship to individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applicants must identify as female, possess a bachelor’s degree, and have applied to a graduate or professional school. The chosen fellows for the AAUW International Fellowship will receive between $18,000 and $30,000 per year. Master’s students receive $18,000, doctoral students receive $20,000, and postdoctoral receive $30,000. Five of the awarded fellows be able to renew their fellowship for a second year.
18. Mexican-American Dream Scholarship
Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas (COFEM) has been handing out the Mexican-American Dream Scholarship for over a decade. Since then, this scholarship has provided college funding to more than 400 students, and around $400,000 has been put to the side by COFEM for immigrant students and their children who wish to earn a higher education. To apply for this scholarship, all applicants must be attending a community college or a four-year university or college. Community college students will receive $500 toward their tuition, and four-year college students will receive $1,000 toward their tuition.
19. DreamSF Fellowship
The DreamSF Fellowship is a great opportunity for immigrant students to gain hands-on, in-depth experience with social justice in the San Francisco area. This is a paid fellowship created by the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA). It provides useful knowledge and skills in advocacy, direct services, and immigration laws. Each selected fellow will be paired with a local immigrant-serving organization in which they will learn how to grow and develop professionally and personally. To join this fellowship, applicants must be 18 years of age or older, interested in working with immigrants, and ready to grow professionally and personally.
20. Golden Door Scholar
The Golden Door Scholar program is for undocumented individuals interested in earning an education and pursuing their dream career. This program’s goal is to help alleviate any hurdles in the way of immigrant students and provide opportunity to all people regardless of their status. Applicants must be a high school senior, high school graduate, or a current college student earning a bachelor’s degree. Awardees will be chosen based on their academic grades and hard work.
21. HEEF Scholarship
The Hispanic Education Endowment Fund gives yearly HEEF Scholarships to Latino and Latina students. Only students who have lived in Orange County, California for the past three years are considered. Applicants must be a first-generation college student, have graduated from an Orange County high school, or transferring to a four-year college from a community college in Orange County. In addition, this scholarship is only awarded to those with low-income families ($60,000 or less). Winners are selected based on academic grades, extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, church service, and employment history.
22. If Given A Chance Scholarship
The non-profit organization, If Given A Chance, has implemented a scholarship award for high school students planning to enroll in a college or university degree or training program. This scholarship is directed toward individuals who have experienced an intimidating social, medical, family, or economic issue. The goal of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to these individuals as well as mentoring to guide and help them throughout their college career. For over 25 years, If Given A Chance has helped young people achieve success, no matter their demographics, citizenship, or background.
23. iVein Health & Wellness Scholarship
The Interventional Vascular and Vein Center is providing an iVein Health & Wellness Scholarship for students who are dedicated to adopting healthy habits into their life. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate or graduate college students, enrolled at a college or university in the United States, and possess a 3.7 GPA. An 800-word essay encouraging specific methods to master a healthy lifestyle during college and throughout one’s life is required. Two winners are selected annually and will receive $2,500 each toward their college tuition.
24. Young Latina Scholarship
Lupe Fund, Inc. is offering the Young Latina Scholarship to encourage Latina individuals to participate in civic leadership. The Lupe Fund, Inc. consists of Latina women who have successful experience in education, law, business, public policy, and human services. The goal of this organization is to inspire other Latina women to advocate for important issues to them. Applicants interested in the Young Latina Scholarship must be Hispanic or Latina, identify as female, be passionate about health and education, and interested in pursuing a higher education.
25. PCF Scholarship
The Peninsula College Fund is giving out a PCF Scholarship to first-generation college students. The goal of this scholarship is to help support exceptional students who plan to give back to their community and family. Applicants must possess at least a 2.8 GPA and be graduating from a high school in the Mid-peninsula or San Jose. The winner of this scholarship will receive $3,000 toward their college tuition each year, which is a total of $12,000 over four years. Scholarship awardees will also receive a mentor who will help and guide them through their college years as well as find internship opportunities.
26. Samuel Huntington Public Service Award
Once a year, The Samuel Huntington Fund offers the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award for college seniors interested in pursuing public service anywhere around the globe. This award provides a stipend of $15,000 to each awardee in which they will use to engage in some type of public service activity for at least one year prior to attending graduate school or starting a career. Each recipient of this award will receive $7,500 to begin their public service project, and the other $7,500 will be provided after six months. To apply for this award, applicants must create a proposal for their public service project, submit a resume, and provide three letters of recommendation.
27. DACA Academic Scholarship
In response to the announcement that the Deferred Act for Childhood Arrivals program would end, the Student Education and Leadership Fund founded the DACA Academic Scholarship. This scholarship will provide financial assistance for the college education of DACA students. All applicants must be living in Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia and planning to pursue a degree program at a college or university. The objective of the DACA Academic Scholarship is to encourage DREAMers to continue chasing their dreams, no matter what hurdles are placed in their way.
28. Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas Scholarships
The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas features a Traditional Scholarship, a Healthcare Career and Vocational Education Scholarship, and a Professional Certification Scholarship. The Traditional Scholarship is for individuals pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, master’s in teaching, or a cosmetology or massage therapy license. The Healthcare Career and Vocational Education Scholarship is for individuals earning a certification in dental assisting, medical assisting, medical billing and coding, or insurance specialist. The Professional Certification Scholarship is for individuals enrolled in a certification program at NWTI, Petra Allied Health, UAMS/Schmieding Center, North Arkansas College, PRN, or NWACC. Individuals are eligible for these scholarships if they are a single parent, United States citizen or DACA status, high school or GED graduate, living near poverty level, do not possess a bachelor’s degree, and residents of Madison, Carroll, or Washington County in Arkansas.
29. The National Scholarship
The National Scholarship was established by TheDream.Us, which is an organization that is committed to assisting all students with achieving the American dream. The National Scholarship is directed toward DREAMers with demonstrated financial need. Applicants are selected based on their dedication to community service, GPA and test scores, and the ability to handle challenges. Winners of this scholarship may receive up to $14,500 toward an associate degree and up to $29,000 toward a bachelor’s degree. Some recipients may also receive a stipend of $1,000 each year for living expenses.
30. World Scholarship
Support Creativity, an organization that assists creative students with making a better life for themselves, has formed the World Scholarship for immigrant college students. This scholarship will help passionate artists pay for their college tuition in the New York area, which includes New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Majority of students who receive this award are designers, photographers, animators, painters, illustrators, and editors. Applicants must be a DREAMer, attending an undergraduate or graduate school, and majoring in a creativity-related field.
As you can see, there are many different scholarship opportunities for undocumented students. These scholarships help make college affordable for all, regardless of citizenship. Even though it may seem challenging and overwhelming to enter college as an undocumented student, these scholarships will help lift some of the financial burden off your shoulders. Most of the scholarships for undocumented students on this list are awarded once a year, so it is advised to continuously apply for them each year of your college career.