How to Get College Immigrant Scholarship?


How Can Immigrants Apply for College University Scholarships?

The first step to getting free money is through federal aid or FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It is open to legal residents and undocumented immigrants in most Democrat states.

Every student in High School has an academic counselor who will help navigate a student on how to enter college.

General scholarship for college in the United States

You can get grants based on high grades, merit, social status, ethnicity, and family background from various independent organizations.

Although they call it generally scholarships, it is better to refer to these as subsidies as most of the scholarships are a one-time amount.

A student’s “scholarship” or subsidy may range from $500 to $6,000, usually a one-time amount. However, a college or university scholarship is generally awarded each year as long as the students meet the required GPA.

Example of college university scholarship computation:

De Paul UniversityPresidential Scholarship$24,500/year
Loyola UniversityPresidential Scholarship$26,000/year
University of Illinois UCPresidential Scholarship$5,000/year
Illinois Wesleyan UniversityAlumni Scholarship$34,000/year
Federal Pell Grant$3,600/year
State Grant$3,600/year
Housing or Alumni Grant$5,000/year
Miscellaneous Grant$4,000/year
Total Academic Tuition/year$55,000/year
Total Housing and Food/year$12,000/year*
LESS Scholarship/renewable per year$34,000/year
LESS Additional grants and aid/renewable per year$22,200/year
TOTAL BALANCE$10,800/year
Some universities, like UIC, do not require first-year students to stay on campus. Hence you do not have to pay for housing and food.


1. Federal Agency (FAFSA)

The first step to getting a scholarship for U.S. citizens and immigrants is through the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) under the U.S. Department of Education.

Can immigrants who finished high school in another country apply for FAFSA?

Recent immigrants who finished high school in another country can apply for a college scholarship through FAFSA. Provided that the student/parents have a green card, social security number and IRS tax returns filed the previous year.

How to apply for college financial aid:

The first step is to create a “parent” account on the FAFSA website and a “student” account. Parents need to make the application together with the student. You need at least 30 minutes to complete the online application.

Be ready for the following requirements:

  • Email of parents and students (Two accounts are created, but you can use the same password to remember credentials easily)
  • Unexpired Identifications such as driver’s license or other U.S. government-issued I.D.
  • Social Security Number.
  • Latest IRS Tax Returns information of parents.
  • Temporary academic transcripts or GED.
  • List of colleges or universities you plan to apply to. (Include a community college)

Important Reminders:

  • Organize and save details of your passwords and FAFSA I.D.
  • Ensure you receive a FAFSA email saying that your application was “Processed Successfully.”
  • You will get a Student Aid Report (SAR) through email or access it through your FAFSA/FSA account.
  • Wait for scholarship offers and or college acceptance or be proactive and apply directly to the school.
  • The ‘list of schools’ submitted to the FAFSA application will have your SAR. They will apply for the financial grant amount you qualify for. For example, a university may offer a 50% scholarship.

2. State Agency

  • Department of Labor scholarship. Go to the search tool to see the complete list.
  • Foundations (Religious, community, business, or civic groups). Call your local state for a list.
  • Ethnicity-based organizations. Call your local mayor for a list of organizations.
  • Employers of parents. Although rare, some companies offer student scholarships.

3. Other scholarship applications

  • For example, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is the state’s one-stop financial aid center through FAFSA, offering a comprehensive array of programs and services. Visit the ISAC website.
  • Another way to get a scholarship is through your county. For example, in Dupage County, you can apply for the Community Services Block Grant Scholarship (CSBG Scholarship) for income below 125% Federal Poverty Level.
A sample tuition fee to the College of Dupage in Illinois. The estimated cost of attendance is $5,665 per year, less grants.


SUMMARY: Steps to get a scholarship in any state?

  1. Make sure a junior high school student is well-connected to a school counselor. It’s free and provided by the school.
  2. Students can apply to several schools through Naviance and Common App. This will help centralize information, documents, and recommendations all in one portal.
  3. Make a list of colleges or universities to which you want to apply. Since the university tuition fee costs more, community college is an option. After two or three years of primary college education, you can transfer to a university.
  4. Create a free account with FAFSA. All other scholarships or community college applications rely on your FAPSA assessment or SAR. Click HERE to apply.
  5. With a GPA of 3.5, community involvement, and an SAT score of 1200 and above, you will likely receive a scholarship offer, which is normally a combination of grants and aid that’s available to you based on your FAFSA and school application.
  6. Students who didn’t do well in high school can still get even up to 100% tuition fee aid, depending on their immigrant and social status.

Ways to reduce college expenses

  • Community college tuition costs a fraction of universities. Parents with low incomes can apply for further financial aid.
  • You can take a double or triple course in a community college, especially if you take A.P. high school classes. This saves you time and money.
  • Consider the proximity of the school. In most universities, first-year students are required to stay in school dorms. This means you will need to spend around $1,500 a month for board and lodging on top of the tuition.
  • The best way to maximize financial aid is to get excellent grades during Junior Year. College application is based on Grade 11 merits, including academic and extra-curricular activities.
  • Having little money should not stop you from pursuing a degree course. You can take a federal or private loan to finance a college education.
  • In 2022, President Biden introduced a debt forgiveness program.

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