How Can Immigrants Apply for College University Scholarships?
Every student in High School has an academic counselor who will help navigate how to enter college. The first step is getting financial aid or known as FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which the U.S. government grants to citizens and immigrants whose parents have low income.
General scholarship for college in the United States
You can get grants based on high grades, merit, social status, even ethnicity, and family background from independent organizations. Although they call it scholarship in general, it is better to refer to these as subsidies.
A student’s average “scholarship” or subsidy ranges from a $500 grant to an average of $6,000. A college or university scholarship is usually in the form of a percentage discount. For example, if the total school tuition (including board) is $40,000, a school can award a student a 50% scholarship or subsidy.
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)
- Organize and save details of your passwords and FAFSA I.D.
- Make sure you receive an email from FAFSA 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.
SUMMARY: Steps to get a scholarship in any state?
- Make sure a junior high school student is well-connected to a school counselor. It’s free and provided by the school.
- Students can apply to several school through Naviance and Common App. This will help centralize information, documents, and recommendations all in one portal.
- Make a list of colleges or universities to you want to apply to. Since the university tuition fee costs more, community college is the best option. After two years of primary college education, you can transfer to a university.
- Create a free account with FAFSA. All other scholarships or community college applications rely on your FAPSA assessment or SAR. Click HERE to apply.
- With a GPA of 3.5, community involvement, and a SAT score of 1200 and above, you will likely receive scholarship offer which is normally a combination of grants and aid that’s available to you, based on your FAFSA and school application.
- Students who didn’t do well in high school can still get even up to 100% tuition fee aid, depending on one’s immigrant and social status.
Important things to know about cA.P.lege fees and scholarships
- Community college tuition costs a fraction of universities. Parents with low income can apply for further financial aid.
- You can take a double or triple course in a community college, especially if you take AP 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.