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Universities that Welcome Undocumented Students

For some parents, education access is a concern they face every day. This is the fear of many undocumented families and students that are misled or not informed about college opportunities in the United States. Unfortunately, undocumented families are not informed about the universities that welcome undocumented students.

This post is the continuation of another post where I address college opportunities misconceptions that undocumented individuals experience because of their immigration status. The first post, titled undocumented students and the college process discusses how families and students may apply for colleges in the United States.

Identified and former English language learners are students often left behind and uninformed about the college application process. As a result, undocumented immigrants hesitate and avoid asking questions. Additionally, in many cases, miss important application deadlines.

Remember that private and public institutions may institute a different admissions process. Some schools may choose to use the FAFSA form as part of their application process and others may not. The FAFSA form is mainly used to figure our financial aid assistance. Students with a social security number such as DACA students can submit the FAFSA form.

The FAFSA form is an online application that determines financial eligibility and student loans using federal funding guidelines. The application process can look different for college applicants because eligibility depends on who in the family is undocumented. My previous post discusses what to do:

  • if both parents and the student are undocumented
  • if only the parents are undocumented

Below is a list of postsecondary institutions that welcome undocumented students. You’ll also find a list of states that charge in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who meet attendance and graduation requirements from an in-state high school.


Who Can Help

It is never too early to prepare for the college application process. Thus, for undocumented families, college planning should begin even earlier. The application process can be a lengthy and complicated process that students may need help with. Fortunately, there are a number of school officials and organizations that can help.

Parents and students should reach out to their ESL teachers and school counselors to figure out college options early. Additionally, families shall contact college admission counselors, local immigration, and education agencies to help figure out the college application process.

There are also a number of national organizations that focus on informing and supporting undocumented students. For instance, such organizations include thedream.us, Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), United We Dream, and many more.

What to Do

Students should first find out whether their local universities and colleges accept undocumented students. Families can start by making a list of community colleges or universities that welcome undocumented immigrants. For instance, a student can begin to track which schools allow them to pay in-state tuition rates. Furthermore, families should also track which schools may offer scholarship funds. At times, it may be necessary to call or email a school to ask these types of questions.

Organize your search by making a list using this free checklist. Use the below form to request and download the checklist. The form will help you keep track of states and universities during research.

Schools that offer in-state tuition rates

The below schools have policies that offer in-state tuition to undocumented students. These schools allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates when other requirements are met. Such requirements may include attendance and graduating from a high school located in that state.

undocumented immigrants colleges
College & University Search Checklist
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  • The University of Hawaii Board of Regents
  • Kentucky Council on Post-secondary Education
  • University of Maine Board of Trustees
  • University of Michigan Board of Regents
  • Ohio Board of Regents
  • Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
  • Rhode Island’s Board of Governors for Higher Education
  • In Delaware: Delaware Technical Community College and the University of Delaware

States that allow DACA Students to be eligible for financial aid

There are several states that allow DACA students to be eligible for financial aid. For instance, these states include:

  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Washington

States that offer financial assistance to undocumented students

In addition, there as a number of states that offer financial assistance to undocumented students:

CaliforniaNew Mexico
ConnecticutNew York
HawaiiOregon
MarylandTexas
MinnesotaWashington
New Jersey

States that allow in-state tuition benefits

These states offer in-state tuition benefits:

CaliforniaNebraska
ColoradoNew Jersey
ConnecticutNew Mexico
District of ColumbiaNew York
FloridaOregon
IllinoisTexas
Kansas Utah
Maryland Washington
Minnesota

Sources and websites with guidance and information

Several organizations provide resources to support and orient undocumented students in the United States. Generally, these agencies tend to offer this guidance free of charge to families. Please note that this list does not include all available websites or organizations that support undocumented students.

Please feel free to share any other websites you may be aware of to add to this list. The above resources do not guarantee entrance to a university. However, the states and universities mentioned here welcome undocumented students. Some of the above universities provide access to organizations that support undocumented students.

States that ban unauthorized immigrant students from in-state tuition benefits

The final list provides a list of states that ban unauthorized immigrant students from in-state tuition benefits. This is an important list because if you live in one of these states you’ll know right away if your state provides you with college opportunities. These states are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, and South Carolina.

Please feel free to leave a comment sharing any relevant information to add or remove from this list as necessary. I hope that this information supports your interest in education. Good luck!

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