DACA Recipients and Financing College


Now that the DACA program is well underway, many of the recipients are applying to colleges nationwide. Currently there are 12 states that allow DACA students to pay in-state tuition rates.  Other states may prohibit in-state rates for students without lawful status. Students should seek information according to their state of residence and particular institution. In Florida, some colleges allow a waiver for the out-of-state tuition under certain circumstances, if the applicant qualifies.   It is important to stay informed regarding any state laws that may pass as details pertaining to DACA continue to develop

In addition to determining what the tuition rate will be, the next concern for students is how to pay for the tuition.  Unfortunately DACA recipients and are currently ineligible to receive federal financial aid and most state financial aid programs. This means that DACA students must explore other sources for outside funding to cover the college expenses.  Noncitizen students may apply for private scholarships and private loans to help cover the expenses of college education.  However, private loans may have higher interest rates. 

Also, some colleges may offer scholarships for which DACA recipients may qualify. Colleges may require students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the purpose of determining private aid eligibility. To make college costs more affordable. It is important to check with the individual schools to find out what programs they have available to DACA recipients.  Since the program is new, schools are still working toward setting up their own internal policies to meet the needs of DACA recipients.

Students should do their research to determine what programs they may be eligible for and apply for any scholarship that they qualify.  Some websites to investigate include: www.fastweb.com, www.finaid.org, www.edupass.org, www.careerinfonet.org; www.collegeboard.com and www.finaid.org/otheraid/undocumented.phtml.

Finally, DACA students may consider alternatives to the traditional four-year, full-time enrollment at institutions. For example, the cost of attending 2 year community colleges may save the student money and then the student can then transfer to the four year program to finish their degrees.  Moreover, students should consider part time enrollment and part time to help finance their educational costs.

Cynthia Waisman, attorney focuses her practice in the area of immigration law. For more information go to our website http://www.immigrationattorneytampa.net or call our Tampa office today at 813-279-6180 or our Clearwater office at 727-712-2299.