Dear E4FC (Educators For Fair Consideration) Friend,

Hooray! We’re excited to announce the release of our much-anticipated 2013-2014 List of Scholarships that Don’t Require Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency. This carefully researched list and guide contains 52 pages of up-to-date information about scholarships available to immigrant students.

What’s New this Year:

  • Over 30 new scholarships—including scholarships that have recently opened up to DACA recipients
  • Separated lists of Bay Area/California and National scholarships
  • 60 new colleges that have provided financial aid to students without SSNs
  • Advice for DACA recipients applying to scholarships

We want this scholarship list to be as comprehensive and useful as possible. Please email us if you have any feedback, suggestions, or edits.

Coming Soon from E4FC:

Right now we’re working on a brand-new list of fellowships and scholarships for graduate students who don’t have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency. Please email us if you know of any fellowships or scholarships that we can add to our list.

Advice For DACA Recipients Applying to Scholarships:
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced by President Obama on June 15, 2012, has widened the number of scholarships available to undocumented students. DACA is a renewable government program that, among other benefits, gives eligible undocumented youth work authorization, a social security number, and permission to stay in the country for two years. For more information about the program, check out E4FC’s DACA Resources.

Historically, many scholarships have excluded undocumented students because they do not have valid social security numbers, work authorization, and/or lawful presence in the United States. DACA is an opportunity for these scholarships to re-evaluate their policies regarding undocumented students. Nationwide we have already seen some scholarships change their policies and allow DACA recipients to apply. However, most scholarships do not know about the program yet and/or have not re-evaluated their policies. Because DACA is a new program, it is important for DACA recipients to educate scholarships about the DACA program and the opportunities it affords to recipients. While some scholarships may continue to restrict their eligibility to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, we hope that many will decide to allow DACA recipients to apply.

To help DACA recipients determine whether a scholarship might consider them for their award, we have created the following guidelines:
Investigate whether the scholarship is government-funded.
Scholarships that are funded by government dollars have very strict eligibility criteria limiting their scholarships to legal U.S. residents. If you find that a scholarship is government funded, we recommend you save your time and energy and not apply to the scholarship. Some examples of government-funded organizations include the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). To investigate if a scholarship is funded through the government, you can do a quick web search of the scholarship by looking up the organization’s website, scanning their homepage and looking for an “About Us” section. This section should describe if the organization/scholarship is privately or publicly (government) funded. Privately funded organizations are often described as 501(c)(3) organizations, non-profits, charitable foundations, community foundations, businesses, corporations, or family-run scholarships.

Ask the scholarship provider if there is a U.S. citizenship or permanent residency requirement for their scholarship.
If the scholarship appears to be privately funded, we recommend you carefully review the eligibility criteria for the scholarship. If the scholarship criteria include a U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency requirement, we suggest you send an email to the scholarship provider. Search for a “Contact us” section on their website. You can ask a question such as, “I would like to apply for your scholarship, but unfortunately I am not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Is there any possibility that I can be considered for your scholarship?”

Ask the scholarship provider why there is a U.S. citizenship or permanent residency requirement.
If the scholarship provider responds that they do have a residency requirement, carefully investigate why this is the case. They might provide a response such as “scholarship recipients must be eligible to work after graduation” or “we don’t want international students applying to our scholarship” or “students need a SSN for tax purposes.” If their response falls along these lines, we strongly advise you to educate the provider about the DACA program, the benefits to DACA recipients, and your particular situation. You might try writing something like, “While I am not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, I am a recipient of the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. This grants me lawful presence, a social security number, and the ability to work legally in this country. Furthermore, I have lived and attended school here in _______ since I was _____ years old and fully intend to remain here after I graduate from college. Is there any possibility that I can be considered for your scholarship?”

If, however, the scholarship provider responds with something such as “our donors have set the eligibility requirements” or “we have a firm stance on this policy” or “at this moment we do not support undocumented applicants”, then it is unlikely you will be able to apply to their scholarship this year and we advise you to look elsewhere. However, do not let these negative responses discourage you! Simply by making inquiries and sharing your story, you are making scholarship organizations aware of the DACA program and DACA recipients’ need for financial support. The more inquiries from DACA recipients that scholarship providers receive, the more likely they will be to re-evaluate their policies. You are making a difference just by courageously making the ask!

Thank you for sharing our 2013-2014 List of Scholarships that Don’t Require Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency as widely as possible!

We wish you much success in your scholarship search!

Denisse Rojas and Nadia Rojas
2013-2014 Scholarship List & Guide Editors

About Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC)
Founded in 2006, Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) empowers undocumented young people to pursue their dreams of college, career, and citizenship in the United States. We address the holistic needs of undocumented young people through direct support, leadership development, community outreach, and advocacy. Our programming is designed by and for undocumented young people with support from committed allies. We are a fiscally-sponsored project of Community Initiatives.

For more information, please visit us online.