10 Best Scholarships for Undocumented Students Globally

Golden Door Scholars, a non-profit firm that promotes economic mobility for undocumented students found out that many high schools and post-secondary institutions lack adequate training and updated policy information to support undocumented students pursuing higher education; and that, till now, there are no direct tracks that undocumented students can follow to obtain citizenship or residency, negatively impacting access to high-earning careers.

In fact, “until recently,” according to a research work released at PubMed Central “undocumented immigrants have been blocked from higher education in the United States,” and this has made foreign-born Latinos to be less likely than both native-born Latinos and other immigrant groups to graduate. In reality, only 11% of foreign-born Latinos hold Bachelor’s degrees, compared to 18 percent of native-born.

The reason we’re speaking more about Hispanics/Latinos is because they take the lion’s share among these students, accounting for 46% of undocumented students, compared to 27% for Asian students, close to 14% for Black students, and 10% are White.

In the midst of all these, there are still scholarships for undocumented students that can help reduce the cost of their studies and also help increase the college or university graduation rate. By the way, there are even other similar financial aid like scholarships for Hispanic students residing in California or if you’re a woman, applying for minority scholarships might be perfectly fitting.

We also understand that most undocumented students who are planning to enroll or are already in a college or university are first-generation students, so we have unique scholarships for you.

Let’s go straight ahead to list these scholarships.

scholarships for undocumented students

Scholarships for Undocumented Students

1. TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship for Locked-out Dreamers

  • Worth: Up to a maximum of  $80,000

This scholarship is solely for undocumented students who live in states where they can’t have access to college education — this could either be because they have to pay out-of-state tuition or the state they are residing in won’t just admit them into their universities. The scholarship will cover your tuition, fees, on-campus housing, and meals at one of their Partner Colleges for a bachelor’s degree.

And one of the best parts is the scholarship is renewable.

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2. Golden Door Scholars

This is among the scholarships for undocumented students that the providers believe that immigration status should not determine opportunity; that tenacity and hard work should. Besides being a documented student to be eligible, you also need to have a minimum GPA of 3.2 for high school seniors and 3.0 for college transfers and must live in the United States for at least four years.

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3. QuestBridge Scholarships

  • Worth: up to $200,000 for four years

These scholarships are not just focused on DACA students, but also high school seniors who have low financial support for their higher education pursuit, but are academically excellent. The QuestBridge doesn’t just offer you scholarships, but they go as far as helping you apply for free to the nation’s best colleges and be considered for early admission and a full four-year scholarship.

The funds can be used for your tuition and fees, housing and food, books and supplies, Travel expenses, etc.

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4. TheDream.US National Scholarship

  • Worth: up to $16,500 for associate degrees and $33,000 for bachelor’s degrees

This is among the scholarships for DACA students provided by TheDream.US for highly motivated undocumented students with serious financial need that is still unmet. The scholarship won’t be giving so much concern about your academic record like your GPA, but their major concern is on the level of commitment you’ve shown on community service and your ability to overcome the barriers and challenges that undocumented students face each and every day.

Apart from the tuition fund they will award, they will also provide stipends worth $4,000-$5,000.

Priority is given to undocumented immigrant students with or without DACA or TPS who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 and before Nov. 1, 2017.  

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5. Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

  • Worth: Up to a maximum of $15,000, annually

This is one of the scholarships for undocumented students actively working for peace and social and economic justice in their communities. Though the maximum grant is $15,000, the average grant is $7,500 and students can be granted more than once.

Students are advised to apply each year even if they are recipients of the previous scholarship.

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6. The Esperanza Education Fund

  • Worth: Community college students will receive $3,000 to $7,000, whereas students attending four-year universities will receive $4,000 to $16,000.

The Esperanza Education Fund doesn’t only provide scholarships to qualified DMV Metro Area (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) candidates, but also mentorship. Students need to be immigrants or the children of immigrants and must plan to enroll full-time in an accredited, public two-year community college or four-year university in the US.

Other than the scholarships recipients will receive, they will also have access to mentorship and annual programming.

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7. Ascend Educational Fund Scholarship

  • Worth: ranging from $2,500 to $20,000

This scholarship is for immigrant students and children of immigrants who are graduating from a NYC high school. This scholarship doesn’t consider your ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status, but it’s necessary to enroll full-time at an accredited public or private college or university.

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8. Chin: Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship

  • Worth: $1,000

This is among the scholarships for undocumented students intending to enroll, or currently at a two-year community college or four-year college/university. Applicants also need to be students or parents currently/formerly employed at an Asian-owned or Asian cuisine restaurant, but no ethnic heritage is required.

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9. Que Llueva Café Scholarship

This scholarship for undocumented students has three (3) major criteria for choosing recipients, they include your personal story, which also includes your story regarding your financial need; extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in; and your academic potential, which mostly focuses on your academic promise in the future.

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10. CA Student Aid Commission – Financial Aid For Undocumented/Dreamer Students

  • Worth: Varies

Through the CA Student Aid Commission undocumented students have several financial aid opportunities to apply for such as; Cal Grant, Chafee Grant, Middle-Class Scholarship, UC Grants, State University Grants, California College Promise Grant (CCPG), EOP/EOPS, etc. They also provide California Nonresident Tuition Exemption for DACA students.

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Important Facts About Undocumented Students

  • More than 408,000 undocumented students are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, comprising 1.9% of all college students in the country (source: American Immigration Council)
  • There are 46% of Hispanic undocumented students, 27% for Asian students, close to 14% for Black students, and 10% are White. (source: American Immigration Council)
  • Every year, about 98,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from public high schools in the United States. However, less than 10% continue to college, and even fewer complete college and earn a degree. (source: Migration Policy Institute)
  • The top five states with undocumented students in higher education are California (83,000), Texas (59,000), Florida (40,000), New York (30,000), and Illinois (20,000). (source: Higher ED Immigration Portal)


Even though Undocumented Students are not properly represented in the country, gradually their voices are being heard, and these scholarships, will improve their education pursuit and also give extra mic to their voices.

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