Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Updated on April 10, 2024

Pursuing post-secondary education as a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student can be challenging. Despite growing up in the U.S and earning a U.S high school diploma, you will face multiple challenges when trying to apply for your further education. One of your biggest obstacles will probably be financially related due to the ineligibility to apply for federal and state financial aid.

Fortunately, there are quite a lot of programs out there that offer scholarships for undocumented students (DACA scholarships), so don’t give up on your bright future just yet. Below we list some of the top scholarships for undocumented students. If you work hard and meet the other eligibility requirements you might be able to get financial aid to further your education.

Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

The Ayn Rand Institute essay contest is a contest where scholars can choose a topic (based on one of Ayn Rand’s novels) and win scholarship prize money. Prize money for winners of the different topics ranges between $2,000 and $10,000. All 50 finalists for each category also receive between $25 and $100.

California Dream Act

The California Dream Act Application is designed for students who want to attend one of the eligible colleges, universities or career education programs in California. Although this program is unrelated to the DACA program, undocumented students can still apply.

Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation Scholarship

The Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation has several ongoing scholarship programs. These scholarships for DACA students (some in the form of awards) are all related to the video, film and television industry. The scholarship amounts range between $7,000 and $10,000.

CORE’s Que Llueva Café Scholarship

The Chicano Organizing and Research in Education (CORE) has, in the last ten years, awarded up to $94,000 in Que Llueva Café Scholarships to undocumented students across America. This scholarship considers personal background stories (including financial need), extra-curricular involvement and academic promise in assessing scholarship applications.

Davis-Putter Scholarship

The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund focuses on funding students who work for social change and economic justice. This fund does not require applicants to be U.S citizens but applicants must have participated in the relevant activities in the U.S and must plan to enroll in a U.S program. Preference will be given to students who plan to stay in the U.S and build the progressive movement here.

Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders

Young Hispanic students who have the potential to become leaders in business and in society have the opportunity to apply for the  Dr. Juan Andrade Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders. This scholarship is awarded by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI). $1,000 is granted annually for students who attend a four-year college and $500 is awarded for students who attend two-year schools.

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

College students can apply for the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. Topics are provided by the foundation, but applicants can write about any subject they are passionate about, as long as it is related to ethics. You will qualify to enter if you are registered at an accredited four-year college or university and you can win between $500 and $5,000.

First in the Family Humanist Scholarship

If you are the first member in your immediate family who goes to college, you are eligible to receive one of the four $1,000 First in the Family Humanist Scholarships. Preference for these scholarships is given to undocumented students or students who have been in foster care or homeless. To enter, you have to submit a 400-700 word essay on Humanism.

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Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program is offered through the National Academy of Sciences. Fellowships are made to students at predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral levels. To be eligible, you must demonstrate academic excellence, a strong commitment to pluralism, and a strong interest in research and teaching.

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

If your dream is to become an excellent teacher you can apply for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois scholarship program. This program offers DACA scholarships of up to $23,000 to talented high school seniors and first and second-year college students who have the passion to be excellent teachers in high-need schools.

Golden Door Scholars

Golden Doors Scholars offer scholarships to undocumented students who want to go to college. Their scholarship covers tuition, room, and board for four years, but may only be applied to undergraduate degree programs. To be eligible you have to maintain a 3.0 GPA every semester.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is designed to help students who have a Hispanic heritage to get a college degree. High school seniors, undergraduate students, graduate students, as well as community college students who transfer to 4-year universities all qualify. These scholarships for DACA students range from $500 to $5,000.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarships

With the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarships, you can get up to $40,000 per year to attend a four-year accredited undergraduate school. You don’t have to pursue a  specific area of study to be eligible. This program also offers personal advice about selecting the right college and getting financial aid.

Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute Scholarship

The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute offers DACA scholarships for students for advanced English Classes and for High School Equivalency Course. This is to prepare students for the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) exam at Hunter College or Lehman College. The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute focuses on boosting the enrollment of Mexican and Mexican-American students in the U.S.

Latino Resources College Scholarship Fund

The Latino Resources College Scholarship Fund invests in Latino students who demonstrate leadership skills, academic excellence, and financial need. There are different awards made to students which range from $500 to $1,000.

La Unidad Latina Foundation Scholarship

Scholarships for DACA students of between $250 and $1,000 are awarded yearly by the La Unidad Latina Foundation. These scholarships are awarded to Latino and Hispanic undergraduates with a minimum GPA of 2.8. To qualify you must enroll in an eligible bachelors or masters degree program at an accredited four-year college or university.

Los Hermanos de Stanford Scholarship

The Los Hermanos de Stanford is a brotherhood that offers scholarships of between $500 and $1,000 to outstanding Latinx students graduating from high school. These scholarships are awarded for students to attend any 2-year or 4-year institution of higher learning.

Mexican American Dream Scholarship

In order to qualify for the Mexican-American Dream Scholarship, you must be an AB-540 student or member of a COFEM (Council of Mexican Federations) affiliated federation or club. Only students who reside and attend school in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Inland Empire, and Ventura County. Scholars are awarded $1,000 but must be willing to volunteer 25-50 hours serving COFEM.

Page Education Scholar Grant

The Page Education Foundation’s focus is to financially support people of color in Minnesota. This foundation offers the Page Grant which can be renewed annually. Part of the eligibility for this grant is the completion of a volunteer project falling within their “Service to Children” projects.

PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship

The Cesar Chavez Foundation partnered with PepsiCo to offer students of Latino descent who are pursuing higher education in Arizona and California financial support through the PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship.

The Fund offers 10 scholarships of $5,000 each. Scholarships are granted based on academic excellence, leadership in extra-curricular activities, commitment to volunteer service in the community and financial need.

Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest

If you are keen to write a Lincoln-related essay, you can apply for the Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest. Essays are between 1,500 and 5,000 words and prize money is between $500 and $1,500. To qualify, you must be a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in an American college or university.

Point Foundation Scholarship Program

The Point Foundation (also known as Point) is America’s largest higher education scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students. Point does not only offer scholarships but also mentorship to the students who are granted scholarships.

Princeton Prize in Race Relations

The purpose of the Princeton Prize in Race Relation is to reward high school students who have had a significant positive effect on race relations in their communities or schools. The prize is a cash reward of $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid weekend to Princeton for a national symposium on race.

Prospective Educators Scholarship

The Prospective Educators Scholarship is offered by the PDK Educational Foundation. Scholarship amounts in the range of $500 to $2,000 are awarded to 30 senior high school students and undergraduate students who are prospective educators and are pursuing a career in education.

QuestBridge National College Match Program

The QuestBridge National College Match Program offers College Match Scholarships to low-income high school seniors. The purpose of these scholarships is to assist these students to gain admission to the nation’s most selective colleges. College Match Scholarships cover the full tuition, room, and board for the full four years. No parent contributions are required and the scholarships are loan free.

Single Parent Professional Certification Scholarship of Northwest Arkansas

If you are pursuing certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Technician, or in Phlebotomy from one of the eligible institutions you can apply for the Professional Certification Scholarships. To apply, you have to be a single parent resident in one of the selected states meeting certain financial need requirements.

Single Parent Traditional Scholarship of Northwest Arkansas

The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas aims to assist single-parent families to become financially independent and stable. They provide financial assistance to low-income single parents pursuing a career-related course of study. These scholarships are not restricted to paying for books or tuition but can also be used for general living expenses.

South Carolina Teaching Fellows

The South Carolina Teaching Fellows recruits talented high school seniors to pursue the teaching profession. Fellowships are provided to 200 high school seniors that have shown specific exemplary characteristics. Fellows receive up to $6,000 fellowship funds, which can be provided for up to four years.

Student Excellent Equals Degree (SEED) Scholarship

Delaware high school students can get their full tuition fees for Delaware Technical Community College covered with the help of Student Excellent Equals Degree (SEED) Scholarship. To be eligible, you must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and must have graduated from a Delaware public or non-public high school.

Support Creativity Graduate Scholarship

If you are passionate about design, animation, photography or other creative fields and want to develop your skills at a higher education institution you can apply for the Support Creativity Scholarship. $1,000 scholarships are awarded to graduate students who want to major in any creative field. This scholarship doesn’t have a GPA requirement.

Support Creativity Undergraduate Scholarship

If you are passionate about design, animation, photography or other creative fields and want to develop your skills at a higher education institution you can apply for the Support Creativity Scholarship. $1,000 scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who want to major in any creative field. This scholarship doesn’t have a GPA requirement.

The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

The Anhelo Project is focussed on providing financial support to undocumented students to help them overcome the obstacles they face when trying to obtain post-secondary education. Anhelo Project Dream Scholarships are awarded to undergraduate or graduate students who demonstrate leadership and community involvement.

TheDream.US National Scholarship

TheDream.US National Scholarship is a scholarship for high school or community college graduates to help cover in-state tuition fees at one of the partner colleges. Scholarships of up to $14,500 are offered for an associate’s degree and $29,000 for a bachelor’s degree.

TheDream.US Community Scholarship

TheDream.US Community Scholarships are awarded to high school graduates who live in targeted, locked-out states that do not offer in-state tuition for undocumented students or that completely bars these students from college or universities. You can receive this scholarship if you are admitted to one of TheDream.US Opportunity Partner Colleges and it will cover up to $80,000 in tuition fees, housing, and meals for a bachelor’s degree.

The Pinnacol Foundation College Scholarship Program

The Pinnacol Foundation College Scholarship Program aims to assist dependents of workers who were injured or killed in a compensable work-related injury. This scholarship of average $3,500 can be used for 2 or 4-year programs or trade programs and may only be used for the cost of attending school.

United Methodist GBHEM Scholarships

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) offers various scholarships in partnership with the United Methodist Church. One of these scholarships is the Ministry as a Career Scholarship. GBHEM also offers General Scholarships, as well as Doctorate Level Scholarships.


There are many challenges undocumented students face when pursuing a post-secondary education. But, financial aid doesn’t need to be one of them! Make sure to contact the programs and foundations listed above to find out if you are eligible for one of the scholarships for undocumented students. It might just be the first step into your bright future!

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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