DACA Financial Aid for Students: Step by Step Guide

While the federal government never passed the DREAM law, former President Barack Obama signed an executive order titled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in 2012, which opened up many options for undocumented or “DREAMer” students. “.

The DACA, as the executive order is called, allows certain people to stay in the United States as long as they meet the conditions. Those allowed to stay are offered a work permit and two years of protection against deportation. They can renew these benefits as long as they continue to keep their record clean.

Even though DACA students are not deported to their home country and can continue to pursue higher education goals, they do not have access to the same federal student aid programs as US citizens. This lack of funding availability can make it difficult for DACA students to go to college.

Many undocumented students wish to attend university, but their immigration status can be a barrier. This guide will review financial aid for DACA students from federal, state, and private companies.

On this page:

Federal and state financial aid for DACA students

DACA students should always complete the FAFSA, if possible

Unfortunately, students in the DACA program are not eligible for any federal financial aid, including Pell Grants or federal student loans. This also includes any federal program dependent on the completion of the Free Federal Student Aid Application, or FAFSA—Generally considered the first step in receiving federal assistance.

That doesn’t mean, however, that DACA students shouldn’t finish FAFSA anyway. There are many other state and local FAFSA data dependent programs that are available to DACA students, so not completing the FAFSA can result in missed opportunities and lost funding.

To complete the FAFSA, you need a Social Security number. Many DACA students may not have one; those who do, however, can complete the FAFSA and effectively register for state and regional student aid. When completing the FAFSA, see the guidelines on studentaid.gov for instructions on how to complete tax and residency information.

Speak to your college’s financial aid office or high school guidance counselor

You should also speak to the financial aid office at the school of your choice or your high school guidance counselor to see what options you may have depending on the state.

Some states have their own forms. Minnesota, for example, has a specific DREAM law enforcement that gives students a state grant of nearly $ 2,000 worth of Minnesota that does not need to be repaid. The state also offers in-state tuition fees for DACA students; However, many other states charge DACA recipients an out-of-state tuition fee, even if they reside in that state.

Private student loans for DACA students

Private student loans are offered by banks and lenders as an alternative or supplement to federal loans.

While many lenders will only offer loans to U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents, there are a few private lenders who will work with recipients of DACA benefits and immigrants.

Citizens Bank

Tariffs (APR)

1.54% – 12.04%

Loan amounts

$ 1,000$ 150,000

Citizens Bank offers private student loans to DACA students with a qualified co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer does not need to be a parent (which could be an obvious problem for DACA recipients); it could be an extended family member, friend, or other willing co-signing contact who has a good credit rating.

  • Variable prices: 1.54% – 9.65%
  • Fixed rates: 4.72% – 12.04%
  • Rate reduction: 0.25% automatic payment discount
  • Fresh: Nothing
  • Repayment Terms : 5, 10 or 15 years

Ascension

Tariffs (APR)

3.17%14.92%

Loan amounts

$ 1,000$ 200,000

Ascension offers student loans that can be used by DACA students provided they add a co-signer who is a US citizen or permanent resident. It should be noted that the co-signer release is not available for loans where the primary borrower is not a US citizen or permanent resident.

  • Variable prices: 3.17%13.92%
  • Fixed rates: 3.98%14.92%
  • Rate reduction: 0.25% automatic payment discount
  • Fresh: Nothing
  • Repayment Terms : 5, 10 or 15 years

Other funding options for DACA students

Even if you find yourself unable to get a private student loan or government assistance, there are still several options. There are personal loans and Scholarships in the private sector; some of them are even specifically intended for DACA students.

Personal loans

Although these are not private student loans, you can also get a personal loan as a DACA student. Some lenders, like Serious offer personal loans to non-residents; some even have specific DACA loans.

Dreamers scholarship

the Dreamers scholarship, offered by the Immigrant Law Group, provides money to first-year students who have qualified for the DACA, have a GPA of 2.5 or better, and are applying to one of 12 partner schools that include colleges in New York, Florida, Washington, DC, Texas or California. There is also an online partner school.

Golden Door scholarships and support

Golden Gate not only offers scholarships to undocumented DACA students, but also mentorship throughout college and beyond with internships and professional development assistance. They have donated money to over 200 college students, and their scholarship students attend universities like Wake Forest University, Emory, and more.

TheDream.US scholarships

TheDream.US is another scholarship available to you as a DACA student. Their national scholarship will cover tuition and fees of up to $ 14,500 for an associate’s degree and $ 29,000 for a bachelor’s degree. More than 75 partner colleges in 15 states participate in the program.

>> Read more: Student loans for international students

Final result

It is true that recipients of the Deferred Action Allowance for Childhood Arrivals will have a harder time funding their education than a US citizen. It’s not impossible, however; with some effort, you can find the funding you need for the education you want, regardless of your immigration status.


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