Frequently Asked Questions by Immigrant Students
(presented by The New York Immigration Coalition/CUNY USS)
Questions Include:
  • Can I apply for college?
  • Am I eligible for in-state tuition rates?
  • Can I apply for financial aid?
  • Should I fill out a FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
  • Should I go to a state or private college?

thenyic action guide

Read An Action Guide for Immigrant Parents
brought to you by: the New York State Immigration Coalition

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Dreamers and Undocumented Students
(presented by College Sense)

Financial aid is generally not provided to undocumented students or illegal aliens. Federal and state financial aid programs require the recipient to have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (i.e., have a green card). However, there may be scholarships available to Dreamers and Undocumented Students.

New York State does allow undocumented students who attended high school within the state for three or more years to receive in-state tuition to its public colleges and universities. This law considerably increases the likelihood that an undocumented student will be able to afford his/her tuition without financial aid.

* If the student is a US Citizen but one or more parents are undocumented, the student is eligible for federal student aid. However, if the parents supply a fake or stolen social security number (SSN) on the form, the student's FAFSA will be rejected when the parent's social security number fails to match. The FAFSA may also be rejected when the parents submit a SSN or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) that is valid for work purposes only. If the parents do not have a social security number or the social security number fails the match, they should use 000-00-0000 as their social security number on the FAFSA form. (

Undocumented students should begin researching scholarships and grants early because there are fewer sources. Undocumented students and families should make inquiries to their community-based organizations and churches. Other useful resources to review are:

FastWeb The Internet's leading scholarship search service helps students make decisions that shape their lives: choosing a college, paying for college, and finding jobs during and after college.
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) Leading non-profit Latino litigation, advocacy, and educational outreach institution in the United States.
Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) The nation’s leading organization supporting Hispanic higher education.
Empowering undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals.
CollegeBoard Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students

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Visit the CUNY Central Office of Student Affairs (COSA) - CUNY Dreamers Hub

CUNY Financial Assistance for Undocumented Students
(presented by CUNY - click here for actual page)

Undocumented students are generally ineligible for state or federal financial aid. However, they may qualify for certain private scholarships, depending on the requirements. Please speak with an admissions counselor for information on scholarships, financial assistance, and how to apply to CUNY. Applications for all CUNY colleges and programs are available online at, and from the Office of Admission Services by calling 1-800-CUNY-YES.

Undocumented students with outstanding academic records should consider CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College. If they meet the in-state tuition requirements described above and they are accepted into the honors college, they qualify for a full tuition scholarship, a laptop, and a stipend. Honors College students who do not meet the in-state tuition test may qualify for limited assistance. For additional information about the Macaulay Honors College please contact: Macaulay Honors College
35 West 67th Street
New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-729-2900
Fax: 212-580-8130

CUNY Citizenship Now! provides free, high quality, and confidential immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship. Our attorneys and paralegals offer one-on-one consultations to assess participants’ eligibility for legal benefits and assist them in applying when qualified.

* Links to external Websites and information are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.