Undocumented Students

Children in the United States are guaranteed an education in the U.S. public schools through grade 12, but may face legal and financial barriers to higher education. There are three primary areas on the path to higher education where these individuals may face obstacles for admission, tuition, and financial aid.

  1. College admission policies
    Undocumented students may incorrectly assume that they cannot legally attend college in the United States. However, there is no federal or state law that prohibits the admission of undocumented immigrants to U.S. colleges, public or private. Federal or state laws do not require students to prove citizenship in order to enter U.S. institutions of higher education. Yet institutional policies on admitting undocumented students vary.
  2. College tuition policies
    12 states have laws allowing undocumented students who meet specific requirements in-state tuition rates at colleges. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. There are 4 states that prevent undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition rates. Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and Indiana.
  3. Federal, state, and institutional financial aid policies Undocumented students cannot legally receive any federally funded student financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships or work-study money. In most states, they are not eligible for state financial aid. Some states do grant eligibility for state financial aid to undocumented students who qualify for in-state tuition. Most private scholarship funds and foundations require applicants to be U.S. citizens or legal residents, but there are some that do not. Private institutions set their own financial aid policies. Some are willing to give scholarships and other aid to undocumented students.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Under President Obama's June 15, 2011 Executive Mandate, some individuals qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program, part of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department. Under DACA, children who came to the country under the age of 16 and prior to 2007 and meet other guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. More information can be found at the following site: Visit Site

Tax Reporting - Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

Paying income taxes is the law for anyone who earns wages in the United States, including undocumented immigrants.

The IRS issues an ITIN to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. tax filing or reporting requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ITIN?
A tax processing number, issued by the Internal Revenue Service, for certain resident and nonresident aliens, their spouses, and their dependents. It's a nine-digit number beginning with the number "9" and is formatted like a SSN (example: 9XX-7X-XXXX).

Can an ITIN be used on the FAFSA?
NO!!!! Absolutely not!

What is the purpose of an ITIN?
ITINs are used for tax purposes only and are not intended to serve any other purpose.

Who can get an ITIN?
Those not eligible for Social Security Numbers. It is only available to individuals who are required to have a taxpayer identification number for tax purposes.

How do I apply for an ITIN?
Use the latest revision of Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply available on the IRS website

Where do I find out more?
The IRS website

Type U.S. Citizen Legal Permanent Resident Visa Holder Undocumented
Federal AidYesYesNoNo
State AidYesYesNoNo
Federal Pell and Other Government GrantsYesYesNoNo
In-state TuitionPossiblePossibleDepends on visa, and dependsPossible
Government LoansYesYesNoNo
Institutional AidYesYesDepends on visa, and school's policyDepends on school's policy
Work StudyYesYesNoNo
ScholarshipsDepends on eligibility requirementsDepends on eligibility requirementsDepends on eligibility requirementsDepends on eligibility requirements

At least one of my parents is undocumented and I (student) was born in the United States. Am I eligible for state and federal financial aid?
Your parents' immigration status is not an eligibility requirement. What matters in determining student eligibility for state and federal financial aid programs is the status of a student NOT that of a parent. For purposes of completing the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA), if your parent(s) does not have a Social Security Number, you must enter 000-00-0000 in the parent section.

Scholarships

Each college implements its own scholarship application procedures. If you are presented with a question that does not apply to you, do one of two things:

  • seek guidance from the college (let them tell you how they prefer that you answer the question); or
  • leave the appropriate section blank and contact the financial aid advisor at the college for further advice.

Staff at the college can then work with you on an individual basis and provide additional guidance to assist in the processing of your scholarship application.

For a list of eligible colleges and scholarships - please view Scholarships-Undocumented.pdf

For a list of eligible colleges and scholarships - please view Undocumentstudents_LifeAfterCollegeGuide.pdf

TASFA

The Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) provides undocumented students who have resided and attended high school for at least three years - state financial aid for certain public schools within Texas.

Students need to submit the application physically to each and every college. For more information, please visit http://www.collegeforalltexans.com/index.cfm?objectid=D465D848-EA0F-C0EA-5209BC8C89262877