22 Scholarships for Undocumented Students to Apply For in 2024

Pursuing higher education as an undocumented student presents unique challenges, one of which is securing financial support. Thankfully, numerous scholarships are specifically designed for undocumented students based on personal background, interests, and academic performance. In this guide, we’ve identified 22 promising scholarships for undocumented students to apply for in 2023. We’ll also show you some insider tips and information to maximize your chances of winning, empowering you to pursue your academic goals.

Best Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Regardless of your education level, academic goals, or background, we’ve found a scholarship for you. Here are our top 22 undocumented student scholarships.

“Be Bold” No Essay Scholarship

This no-essay scholarship awards the applicant with the boldest profile interested in using their scholarship for their college education. All students are encouraged to apply, regardless of education level, field of study, GPA, or citizenship status. 

  • Award Amount: $25,046
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winners Announced: December 1, 2023

Conscious Consumer Scholarship

This scholarship is for students who prioritize healthy financial habits and want to save money for school. Students of all education levels, including undocumented students, can apply and show why they’re conscious consumers. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winners Announced: December 1, 2023

1000 Bold Points No-Essay Scholarship

This annual scholarship is available to any Bold.org user with over 1,000 points, including students of all grade levels and backgrounds. Those who have outstanding Bold.org profiles will be strongly considered. 

  • Award Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winners Announced: December 1, 2023

Disney Super Fan Scholarship

High school, undergraduate, and graduate students who love Disney can apply for this scholarship by submitting a short essay. This scholarship is open to everyone, whether US citizens or undocumented students. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: September 1, 2023
  • Winner announced: September 22, 2023

Bold.org No-Essay Community Scholarship

This recurring scholarship supports students who are passionate about their community, regardless of education level and citizenship status. Applicants who invite the most friends to join Bold.org and apply early have higher chances of winning. 

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winner Announced: December 1, 2023

Goodnewsletter Scholarship

After applying for this scholarship, applicants will receive the Goodsnewsletter, an email newsletter with inspirational stories. Students who get the most out of the newsletter will be interviewed and get a chance at winning, regardless of education level or citizenship status.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: January 31, 2024
  • Winners Announced: February 29, 2024

Bold.org No-Essay Top Friend Scholarship

If you’re an undocumented student who’s also a fantastic friend, you can apply to this no-essay scholarship regardless of your education level, field of study, and GPA. Applicants are encouraged to create a strong profile and apply early. 

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winners Announced: December 1, 2023

Doña Lupita Immigrant Scholarship

Offered in memory of Doña Lupita, this scholarship is open to immigrant single mothers or children of an immigrant single mom. Interested applicants will need to write about the values they wish to instill in their children or the ones they gained from their single parent. 

  • Award Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: November 12, 2023
  • Winners Announced: December 12, 2023

WayUp Dream Job No-Essay Scholarship

WayUp offers helpful resources for college students and recent graduates, and students who apply for this scholarship will gain free access to its platform. Applicants who engage with and take advantage of the platform the most have the best chances of winning. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winners Announced: August 1, 2023

Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship

This scholarship is open to undocumented students and honors the legacy of Chris Jackson. The Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship will financially support college students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer science.

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: October 1, 2023
  • Winner Announced: November 1, 2023

Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care

This scholarship program seeks to support low-income high school seniors and undergraduate students who want to work in healthcare, social work, government, education, or a related field. Apply by writing an essay introducing yourself and how you hope to help the world with your career.

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: April 15, 2024
  • Winners Announced: May 15, 2024

Learner Education Women in Mathematics Scholarship

This scholarship exists as an opportunity for women studying math or a math-related field, including for undocumented students who meet these requirements. Applicants must be current high school seniors or undergraduates and submit a brief essay.  

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winners Announced: August 26, 2023

VNutrition & Wellness’ Annual LGBTQ+ Vitality Scholarship

This scholarship is for LGBTQ+ students of all education levels, including undocumented ones. It has a recurring deadline, so applicants have the chance to apply every year. 

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: July 1, 2024
  • Winners Announced: July 31, 2024

Bright Lights Scholarship

Undergraduate and high school students who have overcome obstacles to pursue education are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit a 400–600 word essay explaining their plans for the future and how this scholarship will help. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000 (2 winners, $500 each)
  • Deadline: September 15, 2023
  • Winners Announced: October 15, 2023

@ESPDaniella Debt Grant

This scholarship seeks to alleviate the burden of student loan debt by helping current students, graduates, and those who dropped out to pay off their student debt. Anyone with student debt is eligible to apply, including undocumented students. Winners will be asked to show proof of student debt.

  • Award Amount: $4,500 (3 winners, $1,500 each)
  • Deadline: July 31, 2023
  • Winners Announced: August 31, 2023

Taylor Swift ‘1989’ Scholarship

Undocumented students who are fans of Taylor Swift can apply for this scholarship, regardless of their GPA and education level. Applicants will need to submit a brief essay detailing their favorite song from Swift’s ‘1989’ album and why it stands out. 

  • Award Amount: $1,989
  • Deadline: August 1, 2023
  • Winners Announced: September 1, 2023

Charles Pulling Sr. Memorial Scholarship

Non-traditional students, including undocumented students, single parents, those over 25, and more, can apply to this scholarship by submitting a video or essay about themselves and what drives them. 

  • Award Amount: $2,000 (2 winners, $1,000 each)
  • Deadline: July 31, 2024
  • Winners Announced: August 31, 2024

Expand Your Horizons Scholarship

This scholarship exists to help students of all education levels broaden their understanding of the world and other cultures. To apply, ensure your profile demonstrates an openness to learning about different cultures and share your unique perspective as an undocumented student. 

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 28, 2024
  • Winners Announced: April 30, 2024

Cardel Love Scholarship

This scholarship is in memory of Cardel Love and intends to support first-generation BIPOC high school students from New York so they can pursue higher education.

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: September 27, 2023
  • Winners Announced: October 27, 2023

Wondermind Mental Fitness No-Essay Scholarship

This scholarship includes free access to Wondermind’s weekly newsletter covering mental fitness, and applicants who read and engage with the material have a higher chance of winning, whether documented or undocumented students. To apply, explain how education has shaped your view of the world.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: August 2, 2023
  • Winners Announced: July 1, 2024

Jared Ethan Trueba Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Jared Ethan Tueba by supporting New Mexico students in high school, whether citizens or undocumented students. Applicants must submit a 400–600 word essay. 

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: April 1, 2024
  • Winners Announced: May 1, 2024

Uniball’s Skilled Trades Scholarship

This scholarship has been established to help the next generation pay for trade schools, including undocumented students. The ideal candidate is going to a trade school, has overcome personal adversity, is a high school senior, or is currently at a trade school.

  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: March 13, 2024
  • Winners Announcement Date: April 13, 2024

About Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Regardless of immigration status, many scholarships are available to those with undocumented status. The best thing to know is that applying for scholarships is reasonably straightforward nowadays. Twenty years ago, students had to fill out scholarships that were long thick paper applications, and the students’ submissions were usually sent through your school or the mail. Now it is pretty easy to log online, search for the scholarship of your dreams, and apply to the scholarship of your choice.

What Are Scholarships for Undocumented Students?

Remember that undocumented students are not eligible to receive US federal student aid, but some state-based programs may provide you with financial assistance. Undocumented students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA students are also not eligible for federal financial aid funds. Still, they may be available for financial aid through state government programs or the college they attend. 

Some colleges will tell undocumented students to file the Free Application for Federal student aid. You can also check out college-specific financial aid programs and private scholarships. Don’t worry; there are tons of resources available to undocumented students. Finding a scholarship is relatively easy; you can find some that align with your background and qualifications.

What Qualifies Undocumented Students for Scholarships?

Things can be competitive when you are looking for scholarship awards specific to the major you are interested in. Quite a few organizations and people giving out scholarships require students to have reached some academic achievement and to have at least a B average and experience in the major they aspire to enter. Top high school seniors get a recommendation letter from a community leader, teacher, or counselor. This appeals to their application because the teacher is endorsing their skill sets. Getting a recommendation could give you the upper hand or the best chance of getting the scholarship of your dreams.

Types of Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students have several scholarship opportunities available. Here are the most common kinds and what they typically involve.

Undocumented Student Scholarships

College Scholarships

Several colleges and universities offer scholarships exclusively for their incoming or continuing students, including undocumented ones. Their websites and financial aid offices usually have more information on eligibility requirements, such as a minimum GPA.   

Merit-Based Scholarships

These scholarships are open to all students, regardless of their immigration status (unless otherwise specified by the scholarship provider). Awarded based on academic, creative, or athletic achievements, they could be a good fit for undocumented status with a strong track record in any of these areas. 

Need-Based Scholarships

Many need-based scholarships don’t require US citizenship, making them a viable option for undocumented students. They are granted based on financial hardship, so students may need to provide supporting details about their financial circumstances. However, undocumented students can’t apply for federal funding. 

Student-Specific Scholarships

Some scholarships consider personal factors like ethnicity, religion, or family history, including for undocumented students. Not only do these opportunities embrace diversity and inclusivity, but they go a long way in helping underrepresented students pay for school. 

Career-Specific Scholarships

These scholarships focus on students interested in particular professions. While eligibility criteria can vary, there are scholarships that are committed to helping undocumented students fulfill their professional dreams in fields like medicine, education, or engineering.

How to Find Scholarships for Undocumented Students

If you’re an undocumented student with high aspirations, numerous scholarships await you. While many scholarship winners tend to be minority students, what sets the winners apart is the quality of their applications. 

Begin your search by targeting scholarships you are eligible for. Bold.org offers hundreds of opportunities for various education levels and demographics, including scholarships for immigrants and undocumented students. Check each scholarship’s eligibility criteria, as certain scholarships are designed for high school seniors, undergraduates, or graduate students. 

Additionally, ensure you’re familiar with tuition requirements. Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform Responsibility Act of 1996 can impact in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, so review the tuition policies for your schools of interest to estimate how much funding you need.  

How to Apply for Undocumented Students Scholarships: A Step-by-Step Guide

Bold.org‘s streamlined scholarship program makes finding and applying to dozens of scholarships easy. Here’s how undocumented students can get started. 

Step 1: Visit Bold.org

Start by visiting Bold.org. This scholarship platform offers various opportunities to students of all backgrounds, including undocumented students. 

Step 2: Create a Free Profile

To apply for scholarships, create a free Bold.org profile, which displays your background, experience, and skills to scholarship organizers. A robust and detailed profile makes it easier for the scholarship panel to understand your qualifications and goals, increasing your odds of winning. 

Step 3: Find Opportunities

Once you’ve crafted the best profile, take time to review all the scholarship opportunities. Pay close attention to the eligibility requirements and deadlines. Look specifically for scholarships for undocumented students or those aligned with your goals and qualifications. 

Step 4: Apply for Scholarships

Once you’ve identified the scholarships you’re interested in, start the application process per the directions. Each scholarship will have different requirements, so read the instructions carefully and put your best effort into the application. 

Step 5: Monitor Your Applications

After you’ve applied to your scholarships, you can keep track of their statuses on your Bold.org dashboard. 

Step 6: Automatically Apply the Funds to Your Tuition

If you’ve been selected for the scholarships, Bold.org will automatically apply your scholarships to your tuition, eliminating the need for additional paperwork and hassle. 

Tips for Finding Financial Aid Opportunities

Securing a scholarship as an undocumented student can make a major difference. Here are some strategic tips to help you stand out and increase your chances of winning. 

Tip 1: Start Early

The earlier you start the scholarship application process, the better. This gives you ample time to research, prepare, and polish your application, increasing your chances of standing out and winning. 

Tip 2: Tailor Your Application

Since each scholarship has unique requirements and focuses, you want to optimize each application to fit these specifics. Use your application to show how your background and achievements align with the scholarship’s mission and why you’re the best candidate. 

Tip 3: Showcase Your Unique Experience

As an undocumented student, you have unique experiences and perspectives worth sharing. Be authentic, showing the scholarship panels how you plan on contributing to your community or school. 

Tip 4: Write a Strong Essay

Some scholarships ask for a written essay, usually around 400–600 words. This is your chance to tell your story and make a lasting impression, so ensure you proofread, sound genuine, and have others review your work. 

Tip 5: Apply for Several Scholarships

Limiting yourself to one scholarship lowers your chances of winning, so explore all the available opportunities and apply to as many as possible. However, ensure you put enough time into each application and don’t rush through the process. 

Tip 6: Refine your Bold.org Profile

Your Bold.org profile is what scholarship panels and donors see when you apply, so keep it updated and accurate. Be original, outgoing, and detailed when creating and refining your profile. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Can undocumented students get full-ride scholarships?

Yes, undocumented students can get a full-ride scholarship. Some will have specific requirements, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, while others accept all undocumented students, so ensure you check the eligibility criteria. 

How can undocumented students apply for scholarships? 

Undocumented students can apply for scholarships by contacting their school’s financial aid department or through services like Bold.org, which makes it easy to find and apply for applicable scholarships at no cost. 

Does FAFSA give money to undocumented students?

Most undocumented students cannot complete the FAFSA and are ineligible for federally-funded student financial aid. Likewise, DACA students cannot apply for federal student aid. 

Can undocumented immigrants get a loan? 

Yes, non-US citizens living in the US with a valid visa, as well as Green Card holders, can often apply for a personal or business loan, which may be used for covering educational costs depending on the loan terms and lender. 

What states allow undocumented college students? 

According to the Higher Ed Immigration Portal, only three states (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) prevent undocumented students from enrolling in all or certain public institutions. The other 47 states have varying policies, with some only accepting DACA students. Be sure to research your state’s undocumented student policy to determine your options. 

What are some other resources for undocumented students? 

CollegeBoard, the organization behind the SAT, has a help page for undocumented students. It covers admission, tuition, and financial aid barriers commonly faced during the college admissions process, including student rights and how school counselors can help.

Are undocumented student scholarships available for graduate students?

Yes, scholarships are available to undocumented students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Bold.org breaks up scholarships by education level and demographic, making it easy to find relevant graduate school scholarships for undocumented students. 

Can I reapply for a scholarship if I didn’t win the first time?

Policies vary by scholarship. Some will allow you to reapply if you didn’t win the first time, but it’s best to check the specific terms and conditions. However, Bold.org typically allows you to reapply, assuming the scholarship has a recurring application window, but always check the application for exact details. 

Are scholarships taxable income?

Whether scholarships are taxable depends on how it’s used and the recipient’s student status. Generally, it’s tax-free if you’re pursuing a degree, and the scholarship covers tuition, required fees, and student expenses (i.e., textbooks and supplies). However, funds used for room, board, or living stipends are taxable. For more information, IRS 970 covers tax benefits like the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit

How many scholarships can you get?

There’s no limit to the number of scholarships you can receive. Scholarships can be specific to majors or open to all, but competition is often high. In 2020, 58% of families used scholarships for college, so try to apply for as many scholarships as possible to maximize your financial aid.

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