Undocumented students occupy a very precarious and uncertain position. Many fear for their own safety and well-being. Others are left to wonder what the future may hold, or if they will be able to enjoy the opportunities a college education can provide.
Some 10.5 million undocumented immigrants reside in the U.S. and nearly 100,000 graduate high school each year. A successful college experience depends on access to solid support resources. Many colleges continue to expand these resources for undocumented students, and states like New York have mandated access. We now know that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) protected nearly 800,000 young immigrants, but recent reports suggest that undocumented students still struggle to access the resources they need.
Designed with undocumented students in mind, this guide lists some important resources that can help make college dreams a reality. It discusses social support and advocacy tools, and focuses on resources available to undocumented students interested in any major in college, including healthcare. It also lists scholarships and offers tips on how to submit a successful application.
Scholarships & Financial Aid for Undocumented Students
Higher education can be a big cost for anyone, and undocumented students are no exception. In fact, undocumented students likely do not have easy access to the same financial aid resources as other students and may have to work harder to cover their expenses.
Fortunately, many schools and organizations offer grants and scholarships to undocumented students interested in higher education, including healthcare majors. All you need to do is know where to look. Scholarships like those listed below are financial benefits awarded to students who show exceptional promise. These awards often cover tuition and other educated-related expenses. They do not need to be repaid and are renewable in some cases.
Medical and Health Scholarships
5 Keys to Landing Your Scholarship
- Key #1: Be personal and genuine
Most scholarships seek students who can connect with others on a personal level. If you are given an essay prompt that asks you to draw on your own experience take that requirement seriously. Be honest and genuine about your aspirations.
- Key #2: Complete all the application requirements
Be sure that you read all the instructions and follow them carefully. Committees are looking for candidates that pay attention to detail. Applications that do not follow the full instructions often won’t get a second look.
- Key #3: Do your research and tailor your materials
Nothing turns off decision committees more than a cover letter or personal essay clearly written for a different scholarship. Do not copy and paste your material. Research the organization that sponsors the award and tailor your application to their goals. This shows clear initiative and thoughtfulness.
- Key #4: Google yourself ahead of time
Be careful with your social media presence and online footprint. It is not unusual for committee members to search for your presence online. Do this on your own ahead of time and be mindful of how you are presenting yourself to others.
- Key #5: Select good references
Most scholarships will ask for references or recommendation letters. Be sure that you select good references who can assess your abilities. Talk to you recommenders well in advance of the deadline and stay in close communication with them throughout the process.
College Resources for Undocumented Students
If you are an undocumented student in college (or an aspiring student) there are a number of good resources available to you. These include education and career tools, social support networks, and advocacy groups. Organizations and agencies like those below are there to help you as you work to achieve goals.