Financial aid for undocumented students
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, a bill that will allow undocumented college students in California to receive private financial aid for college. The California Dream Act is still being proposed that would allow such students to receive financial aid from public sources as well.
California is not the only state allowing undocumented students to live the dream: previously, the Illinois House passed its own version of the DREAM Act with bipartisan support. The Illinois bill will establish a private DREAM fund, which will grant scholarships to eligible DREAMers who graduate high school. It also mandates that high school counselors and educators be fully aware of educational opportunities available to these youth.
A study being published in the American Sociological Review finds that young adults who were brought to the United States as immigrants without the legal authority to reside in the country do pursue an education, but rarely are able to use that education to get good jobs. The study found that one of the first times many of these young adults felt the impact of their immigration status was when they applied to college — and realized that they could not seek financial aid. Just about half of those studied tried for some college education. But, without the legal right to work in the United States, very few reported the kind of economic advancement associated with higher education. The study was conducted by Roberto G. Gonzales, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.
Despite this study, or perhaps because of the study, undocumented youth who are able to get a college education consider focusing on entrepreneurship so that they can start their own businesses or expand the businesses that their parents frequently start. This has been the strategy adopted by immigrant groups to the United States for years.
Other resources for undocumented students:
- National Conference of State Legislator Overview: Undocumented Students
- National Conference of State Legislator listing of states with favorable tuition policies for undocumented students
- National Conference of State Legislator resource listing for undocumented students
- National Immigration Center: Facts about in-state tuition for undocumented students
- DREAM ACT Portal
- Investing in the American Dream by Roberto G. Gonzalez of the Immigration Policy Center
- White House facts on the Dream Act
- Advice from the College Board
- BigFuture Q and A
- Choose Your Future Resource Page for Undocumented Students
- Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling Guidance for Undocumented Students
- TAFSA (Texas Application For State Aid)