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How much financial aid can I get as an immigrant?

berd2kberd2k Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
I am a junior in high school with a 4.0 UW GPA. I live in Nebraska in a rural area and have taken every opportunity to better myself and increase my chances of scholarships and getting into college. It has been a huge dream of mine to attend college out of state, especially in California. I am involved in many activities within my school and hold officer positions in multiple. I have not taken the ACT yet, but I achieved a 30 on the preACT, and have been working on bettering my score.

The problem is that I was born in Mexico and the only reason that I am allowed to be here is due to DACA, which is no longer valid and I am very unsure of what will happen to my future based on these past few months. I know that I am not eligible for federal financial aid or federally funded scholarships. Is it even realistic to think of going to college out of state without extreme debt? Which scholarships do I qualify for? Is it possible? If so, what are some steps I should be taking now to gain the most possible financial help?

My parents work on a dairy farm and though they are extremely supportive of me, their ability to help financially can only reach so far, as college is so expensive. Though low income would normally be helpful when seeking financial aid, it means nothing to me as I cannot apply for FAFSA.

Replies to: How much financial aid can I get as an immigrant?

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,473 Senior Member
    edited September 26
    First...California offers NO need based institutional financial aid at its public universities to OOS students. So if you were thinking about a CA public university, take that off your list.

    Yes, I think it's not realistic to look at OOS options...unless you have some money that will be able to pay the costs. You need to even check with Nebraska for their guidelines on granting you instate status. Some states would give you in state tuition status, but others would not....because you are a citizen of another country.

    Once you have a real SAT score, it will be easier to give you some guidance. Also, can your parents help you with college costs...at all? If so, how much can they contribute.

    @twoinanddone any suggestions for lower cost schools for this kiddo.

    @happymomof1 any suggestions for this kiddo?
  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG Registered User Posts: 444 Member
    Berea College is a working college that meets full need and a top LAC
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,065 Senior Member
    Some states give non-citizen students, including those registered under DACA, instate tuition rates and the ability to qualify for STATE aid. Other states do not and I don't know of any that give state aid to out of state students. None of the federal aid programs are available to undocumented students. DACA doesn't change that.

    Private schools can do anything they want with their own money. A private school might give you a scholarship, but many do expect a student to contribute through taking out loans (not available to you) or federal work study (also not available). Many private scholarships do require citizenship.

    Honestly, embrace being a cornhusker.

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,342 Senior Member
    Do you have DACA? If so, make sure it is renewed through the dates that you are able to do that.

    Does the public college and university system in Nebraska admit students like you, and if so what kind of aid do they offer?

    Keep working on your ACT test prep, and keep up your grades. Some private colleges and universities do have merit-based and/or need-based aid for you, and your status won't matter. You also should consider applying for Questbridge: https://www.questbridge.org/

    There are a small number of public universities that guarantee near full-rides for excellent grades and test scores even for international applicants. Start here to look for them: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/2006094-2017-automatic-full-tuition-full-ride-scholarships-p1.html

    Wishing you all the best.
  • berd2kberd2k Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    My parents make give or take $50,000 a year, which may be enough to qualify me for some private low-income scholarships. They do want to help me with the cost, but I am unsure how much they could contribute. Obviously, they would contribute as much as they could.

    @happymomof1 I do have DACA, and it will be valid until 2019. After that, since DACA has been repealed, I will not have any protection unless something like DACA is remade. UNL is my #1 choice in Nebraska, and they do admit DACA recipients. I am fortunate enough to be able to receive in-state tuition for UNL. If I can't receive enough aid to go out of state, UNL is my go-to. I have recently discovered Questbridge and am definitely looking into it.

    I was wondering if you could think of any other scholarship opportunities like Questbridge, particularly scholarships that do not require citizenship. Thank you.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,065 Senior Member
    You will not be eligible for any federal assistance, and only qualify for state aid if the state allows it. Most of the national scholarships do require citizenship.

    DACA, even if continued by congress, really doesn't provide any money except that you could work legally.
  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG Registered User Posts: 444 Member
    Work colleges (like Berea) allow students to attend with little to no financial resources. Berea in particular takes DACA students. I don't know if the other work colleges take DACA students but they are all a great value for the students they accept here is the list of them to look into.

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,476 Senior Member
    edited October 5
    Seconding Berea.
    Pomona is an ultra selective college that treats all applicants graduating from a US high school the same for admission and financial aid. Better raise that test score and hope you've done a few amazing things. They're in California and meet 100% need. (Do not confuse with Cal poly Pomona).
    The first thing you need to do is check what your state does: are you allowed to apply to UNLincoln or any public university? Are you eligible for instate tuition if you graduate from a Nebraska high school? Are you eligible for state aid if you graduate from a Nebraska high school?
    The primary issue isn't whether you can attend college in California. The primary issue is whether you can attend college at all (*) -and how.

    * applying to Berea and Pomona is just the start. Pomona is reach for everyone and Berra is quite selective too.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,541 Senior Member
    You'll have to apply to the top schools that will fully fund a DACA student.

    take the Calif schools off your list....unless Stanford will fund.

    it even realistic to think of going to college out of state without extreme debt?

    Please understand that you probably don't have the means to even borrow. You'd need a qualified citizen cosigner for any debt and you probably don't have one.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 8,278 Senior Member
    California is sympathetic to DACA students and is working on the issue at its public colleges and universities. I think most of it only applies to instate residents, so you need to check individually with those universities. Additionally, if you want to compete in California, ALL of your stats have to be exceptional. There is no way of getting around that. California has plenty of DACA students with exceptional stats so you have to be competitive and have ALL of the A-G coursework completed or near completion.

    As for private colleges, in California, you need to call the individual financial aid offices at those schools. Each school is handling it in a different manner.

    FWIW: California is a very expensive state. Even for in-state students, the costs of attending a UC has many families affected by the costs to attend. Every student wants to come to California, thinking of what is shown on TV/internet: that it is an easy transition and beachy weather. Try again. My dd went to Davis, in the middle of farmland. It is a college town. She had a dormmate (from OOS) who was walking around in a swimsuit, asking how to get to the beach. She asked my dd why people were laughing. My dd had to tell her that Davis didn't have a beach. The nearest "beaches" were on the coast, a trainride away, and were not really swimmable.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,541 Senior Member
    edited October 5
    I think a clarification is needed....

    <<<California is sympathetic to DACA students >>> WHO HAVE GRADUATED FROM CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOLS.

    Calif is not going to be providing funds for DACA students who have been living in OTHER states and who graduated from high schools outside of Calif.

    The residents of Calif aren't about to provide $60k per year for a DACA student who grew up in another state.

  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 8,278 Senior Member
    edited October 5
    I think most of it only applies to instate residents so you need to check individually with those universities.
    Just reiterating^
    Privates will be different.
  • JesuitboundJesuitbound Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    First California is very sympathetic to DACA students. The Cal system is setup to where the UCs are for the highly competitive students, Cal States are for the moderately competitive and the CCs are for those without great stats. All of them participate in the California Financial Aid System. There is a separate form you fill out similar to FAFSA for a financial aid packet for DACA students. You won't be able to apply not being a resident currently but check into how long it will take to get California residency while in college. You can find that here - http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp. Also many of the UC and Cal State schools have Dream Centers where DACA students at those universities can receive resources. I know the Sacramento State Dream Center is amazing at letting you know what scholarships require citizenship and which do not. Here is the list from UCI Dream Center - http://dreamers.uci.edu/scholarships/ Lastly, California legislation in support of dreamers is amazing: you can get a work permit, driver's license, etc.

    Best advice, check out the Golden Door Scholarship. It is run by the same people who run Questbridge and focus on giving full-tuition and full-ride scholarships to DACA and TPS students. Even looking at partner schools I think would give you an idea of some schools which would look favorably on DACA students and supporting them.

    Lastly there are some great private schools developing scholarships for Dreamers for instance Loyola University Chicago has opened their medical school to Dreamer applications and offers the Magis scholarship.

    Good Luck!
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,476 Senior Member
    The map in the link at Golden Door will be useful for OP. Check out what your state's situation is.
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