Scholarships for undocumented students will fund the “American Dream” for foreign-born nationals who entered the U.S. without inspection or authorization. Most qualify for college under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy because they’ve entered the country before their 16th birthday.
Educators for Fair Consideration estimates that there are 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., including 1.1 million youth under age 18. Pew Research indicates that undocumented immigrants represent 5 percent of America’s total civilian workforce at 8 million. Most are originally from Mexico, but others come from Central America, Asia, South America, and even Europe. For instance, the estimated 50,000 Irish immigrants living undocumented nationwide break the notorious stereotype. Yet only around 7,000 of the U.S. undocumented population is enrolled in higher education.
Remove any financial barriers to your goals by pooling money from the following 25 scholarships for undocumented students.
1. Ascend Educational Fund Scholarships
Deadline: February 2nd
The Ascend Educational Fund (AEF) gifts multiple scholarships worth $2,500 to $20,000 to support immigrants, including undocumented students, who are graduating seniors in the New York City School District. Eligible non-U.S. citizens must have two parents born outside the country, reside in one of the NYC boroughs, gain full-time admission at any accredited college, achieve a minimum 2.5 grade point average, and exhibit resourcefulness and perseverance against adversity.
Ascend Educational Fund Scholarships
P.O. Box 538
New York, NY 10008
2. Association of Raza Educators Scholarship
Deadline: March 10th
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E.) Scholarship will provide up to $5,000 for undocumented, AB-540, and DACA students who have been admitted as full-time freshmen at accredited colleges. Interested immigrants must graduate from a high school in California’s San Diego County, reach a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, and exhibit financial need. Applications must include a short essay or video highlighting your active involvement in community service.
Association of Raza Educators Scholarship
P.O. Box 740337
San Diego, CA 92174
3. COFEM Mexican-American Dream Scholarship
Deadline: September 30th
Launched in 2008, the Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM) Mexican-American Dream Scholarship has awarded over $310,000 to undocumented, AB-540, and DACA students from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. For up to $1,000 yearly, candidates must matriculate for 12+ units at two- or four-year U.S. colleges, need financial assistance, excel academically with a minimum 2.5 GPA, and commit to 50 hours of volunteer work.
COFEM Mexican-American Dream Scholarship
125 Paseo de La Plaza, Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90012
4. Deferred Action San Francisco Fellowship
Deadline: April 16th
Offering an $8,400 stipend, the Deferred Action San Francisco Fellowship gives undocumented immigrant youth the valuable opportunity to work 20 hours per week with a local public or nonprofit organization from June through December. Qualified fellows must hold a high school diploma or GED, pursue a four-year university degree in San Francisco, and exhibit commitment to social justice. Preference is given for bilingual skills in Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Deferred Action San Francisco Fellowship
50 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
5. Educators for Fair Consideration Scholarships
Deadline: March 1st
The Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) Scholarships grant a maximum of $7,000 to foreign-born immigrants, including those undocumented, who reside in the 11-county San Francisco Bay Area from Sonoma to Santa Clara County. Eligibility criteria requires lacking U.S. permanent residency, enrolling full-time in a bachelor’s or graduate program, exceeding the minimum GPA of 3.0, meet low-income guidelines, and have extracurricular involvement.
Educators for Fair Consideration Scholarships
354 Pine Street, Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94104
6. Esperanza Education Fund Scholarships
Deadline: April 1st
Ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 each, the Esperanza Education Fund Scholarships are awarded to foreign-born U.S. students regardless of immigration status who display strong work ethics, resourcefulness, determination, and community leadership. Funding is reserved or graduating seniors or GED recipients in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia who are enrolling full-time at accredited public universities. Recent winners attend Towson, Virginia Tech, George Mason, Morgan State, University of Baltimore, and more.
Esperanza Education Fund Scholarships
P.O. Box 27507
Washington, DC 20038
7. Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
Deadline: December 14th
Valued at $24,000 each year, the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded to 65 post-bachelor’s minority students who are U.S. citizens, nationals, green card holders, or undocumented immigrants with DACA status. It’s intended to reduce tuition for research-based PhD or ScD programs in eligible fields at non-proprietary institutions. Accepted majors include computer science, astronomy, linguistics, psychology, archaeology, engineering, international relations, and economics. Expenses to attend the Conference of Ford Fellows are covered too.
Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
8. Golden Door Scholars Program
Deadline: October 27th
The Golden Door Scholars Program will award full, four-year tuition coverage for up to 50 undocumented immigrants who qualify for DACA or TPS each year. Recipients choose from 16 partnering schools like Emory University, Tufts University, Meredith College, Wake Forest University, and Queens University of Charlotte for their first bachelor’s degree. Ideal applicants will live in states that don’t allow in-state tuition for DACA status, maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, and have held community leadership positions.
Golden Door Scholars Program
1101 Red Ventures Drive
Fort Mill, SC 29707
9. Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards
Deadline: October 2nd
Sponsored by CVS Health, ExxonMobil, and more, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation receives 10,000 applications for its $3,000 Youth Awards annually to reduce tuition at an accredited U.S. college the upcoming Fall semester. Undocumented Latino/a students may apply if they qualify under DACA, have received a high school diploma or GED, and carry an unweighted GPA of 3.0 or greater. Awards are granted in eight categories like Accounting & Math, Engineering, and Healthcare & Science.
Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards
1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
10. Illinois Dream Fund Scholarships
Deadline: April 22nd
Led by Chair Tanya Cabrera, the Illinois Dream Fund awards scholarships of $2,000 for two-year community college and $6,000 for four-year college students who are undocumented and ineligible for federal financial aid. Suitable applicants must complete a high school diploma or GED certificate, study full-time within or outside Illinois, pursue their first associate or bachelor’s degree, submit an official transcript showing a 2.5 GPA or higher, and provide one reference letter.
Illinois Dream Fund Scholarships
500 W. Monroe Street, Third Floor
Springfield, IL 62704
11. Jean DeGrace Crandall Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
The Geneseo Migrant Center offers 12 scholarships for undocumented students, such as the $2,000 Jean DeGrace Crandall Memorial Scholarship. This merit-based award assists migrant farmworkers and their children from Mexico who live in New York’s Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Westchester, Putnam, or Rockland counties and are pursuing college degrees. Preference is given to students interested in traditional Mexican art or culture. Also consider the Leah Levy Memorial and Juanita Crippen Memorial Scholarships.
Jean DeGrace Crandall Memorial Scholarship
3 Mt. Morris-Leicester Road
Leicester, NY 14481
12. John and Muriel Landis Scholarships
Deadline: February 1st
Worth $5,000, the John and Muriel Landis Scholarships are open to American Nuclear Society (ANS) members who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented DACA recipients with greater than average financial need. Up to nine scholars receive funding for full-time enrollment in undergrad or graduate programs in nuclear science, nuclear engineering, or similar power-related fields. Don’t forget to submit a transcript, list of ANS activities, 500-word personal statement, and department chair’s recommendation.
John and Muriel Landis Scholarships
555 North Kensington Avenue
La Grange Park, IL 60526
13. Latin American Educational Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: November 13th
Located in Denver, the Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF) has bestowed over 6,000 scholarships for $6 million total upon Colorado residents of Hispanic origin, including undocumented non-U.S. citizens. High school seniors, undergrads, and graduate students who will study full-time at accredited colleges this year, sustain a minimum 3.0 GPA overall, and actively engage in the Hispanic community could apply. Enrolling in experiential learning or international programs is also accepted.
Latin American Educational Foundation Scholarships
561 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, CO 80204
14. LUPE Young Latina Leadership Scholarships
Deadline: February 10th
Established in 2002, the LUPE Fund, Inc. confers six Young Latina Leadership Scholarships for $1,000 to $3,000 each year to female students of Hispanic heritage who are enrolling as full-time undergrads at accredited New Jersey colleges with a 3.0 GPA or greater. United States citizens, legal residents, and undocumented DACA students can apply. Packets must feature a transcript, 500-word personal statement in English, brief essay response, and two letters of recommendation.
LUPE Young Latina Leadership Scholarships
492 Mount Prospect Avenue
Newark, NJ 07104
15. Margaret Wong Scholarships
Deadline: April 23rd
College Now Greater Cleveland administers the Margaret Wong Scholarships to award $2,000 to 10 high school seniors or current undergrads who are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Undocumented youth must live in Northwest Ohio, including Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lorain, Medina, Stark, and Trumbull counties. Other criteria requires maintaining full-time status at a public or private, nonprofit college, carrying a minimum 2.5 GPA, and attending a mentoring session.
Margaret Wong Scholarships
50 Public Square, Suite 1800
Cleveland, OH 44113
16. National Dream.US Scholarship Award
Deadline: March 8th
Nicknamed the “Pell Grant for DREAMers,” the National Dream.US Scholarship Award offers undocumented youth up to $12,500 for associate and $25,000 for bachelor’s degrees at partnering colleges each Spring. Eligible schools include National Louis University, Delaware State University, Florida International University, Western Oregon University, and more. Recipients must continue full-time enrollment for 12+ credits per term while carrying a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
National Dream.US Scholarship Award
1321 Murfreesboro Road, Suite 800
Nashville, TN 37217
17. Ogden Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Scholarship
Deadline: March 13th
The Ogden Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (OAHCC) started a $1,000 scholarship to promote higher learning for Latino/a residents of Utah’s Davis, Cache, Box Elder, and Weber counties regardless of immigration status. Qualified undocumented students will be accepted at an accredited college or vocational school in-state, maintain a cumulative GPA above 2.5, attend required Chamber events, and display leadership in nonprofit service organizations.
Ogden Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Scholarship
P.O. Box 3012
Ogden, UT 84409
18. Que Llueva Cafe Scholarship Program
Deadline: February 28th
Since 2009, the Chicano Organizing & Research in Education (CORE) has delivered more than $92,000 through the Que Llueva Cafe Scholarship Program to financially bolster undocumented immigrants studying in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. To qualify, candidates must be of Chicano or Latino descent, be high school or GED graduates, enroll for the first time at an accredited two- or four-year college, display academic promise, and respond to a writing prompt with 1,000 words maximum.
Que Llueva Cafe Scholarship Program
P.O. Box 160144
Sacramento, CA 95816
19. SALEF Health Career Scholarships
Deadline: July 16th
The Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF) grants the Health Career Scholarships for $1,000 to $3,000 to Latino/a students of Central American origin, including undocumented immigrants, who are pursuing medical training. Eligible applicants must be graduating seniors or current college students from the Los Angeles Metro who have financial need to study nursing, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or public health with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better.
SALEF Health Career Scholarships
421 South Bixel Street, Suite A
Los Angeles, CA 90017
20. Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship
Deadline: February 24th
The Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship stands out among the Asian Pacific Fund’s 13 merit-based programs by gifting $1,000 to U.S. citizens, green card holders, and undocumented immigrants of any ethnic heritage who have been employed at Asian-owned restaurants. Chosen applicants must enroll as full-time undergrads at four-year colleges, possess a minimum “B” average, have unmet financial need, and do social justice work on behalf of marginalized populations.
Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship
465 California Street, Suite 809
San Francisco, CA 94104
21. Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC Scholarship
Deadline: May 31st
As a Phoenix-based workers’ compensation law firm, Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC created a $2,500 scholarship to support undocumented dreamers under age 25 who migrated to the United States before age 16. Appropriate applicants must be attending an accredited two- or four-year college this Fall, have lived in the U.S. for five years, have a clean criminal record, present a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and submit a three-minute video essay.
Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC Scholarship
55 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85012
22. Support Creativity Undocumented Freshman Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Each Spring since 2013, Support Creativity has awarded the Undocumented Freshman Scholarship for $1,000 to non-U.S. citizens with or without DACA status who are enrolling full-time at an accredited college in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Majors in any creative field, such as animation, game design, illustration, studio art, digital media, and visual effects, could apply before their first semester. Entrants must submit an artistic piece in any medium with an essay description.
Support Creativity Undocumented Freshman Scholarship
244 West 54th Street, Suite 800
New York, NY 10019
23. Tam Tran Scholarships for Undocumented Students
Deadline: February 17th
Named after a Brown PhD candidate and immigrant rights activist who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2010, the Tam Tran Scholarships for Undocumented Students gift $500 per year from the César Chávez Scholarship Fund. Qualified Rhode Islanders must live in the U.S. without legal permission, have a high school diploma or GED, matriculate in college-level courses, display academic potential with a 2.5 GPA or higher, and have financial need.
Tam Tran Scholarships for Undocumented Students
23 Spring Garden Street
Warwick, RI 02888
24. The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarships
Deadline: January 13th
The Anhelo Project was founded in Chicago in 2009 to present the Dream Scholarships to undocumented students, including DACA recipients, who are ineligible for federal financial aid. Selected scholars must enroll full-time at Illinois colleges for undergrad or post-grad study, have earned 12+ credits in college, display leadership throughout community involvement, obtain a minimum 2.5 GPA, provide proof of income, and attach two letters of recommendation.
The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarships
P.O. Box 08290
Chicago , IL 60608
25. Washington Leadership 1000 Scholarship
Deadline: February 28th
Washington State’s College Success Foundation awards the Leadership 1000 Scholarship for $1,500 to $5,000 annually to local high school seniors regardless of immigration status. To apply, undocumented students must plan to attend a four-year university in-state, register for 12+ credits toward a bachelor’s degree, sustain a minimum 2.75 GPA overall, have an adjusted gross income below $65,000, and return the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).
Washington Leadership 1000 Scholarship
15500 SE 30th Place, Suite 200
Bellevue, WA 98007
Although the NCSL reports that 20 U.S. states offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, affording the average yearly cost of $9,410 at public, four-year colleges is difficult. Dreamers lack a social security number for completing the FAFSA to earn the Pell Grant and FSEOG Grant like U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Therefore, federal financial aid must be replaced with state, institutional, and private funding as well as campus jobs. These 25 scholarships for undocumented students are an excellent starting point to increase your budget in higher education.