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Can immigrants go to college in the USA?

Some people have told me that immigrants have no right to get an education in the colleges in the USA. My family’s financial condition is not that strong and my parent’s main dream is my college education and a good job thereafter. But the question is, can immigrants go to college? According to my friends, I will be able to get admission in colleges only with the aid of a student immigration lawyer. Is it necessary to use a student immigration lawyer for this? How can I get an opportunity to meet some immigrant students in college so that I can understand what the requirements are.

Dana Keller

in Study Abroad

1 answer

1 answer

Jennifer Patterson on May 25, 2018

Many people hold the belief that undocumented immigrants cannot go to colleges in the US. However, the reality is that there is no law, either state or federal, to prevent an undocumented immigrant from entering a college in the US. That means immigrants can go to colleges. Admittedly, there are some colleges, like the four-year state colleges in Virginia, which ask applicants to produce proof of legal residency or citizenship. However, this is not seen in the case of other states. Many states allow undocumented students to study in the colleges but treat them as foreign students. The problem with this treatment is that these students are not eligible for any state aid and reduced tuition enjoyed by the state residents. This is not seen in all states. There are states where such immigrant students are allowed to pay in-state tuition rates.

Now, regarding the financial aid policies for immigrant students, the reality is that undocumented students do not usually enjoy any of the state or federal aid in the form of grants, loans, work-study income or scholarships. The same is true about many states as well. However, there are a few states where the undocumented students who manage to get in-state tuition are considered eligible for state financial aid as well. In the case of undocumented students, there are some private scholarship funds though most of them are restricted to legal US residents and citizens.

Let me introduce a few scholarships that might attract you because they are not bound by nationality. Firstly, if you are pursuing a law degree, you can apply for the Diversity Scholarship Foundation (DSF) Scholarships. There are multiple awards in this category and for more information, you can visit their website

If you belong to Latino, African American, Asian American, Native American, Alaskan, or Pacific Islander community, you are eligible for the Public Relations Student Society of America scholarships. In order to avail this scholarship, you should have a minimum of 3.0 GPA and a full-time student of an accredited four-year college or university with at least a junior status. To know more about these scholarships, use the link

In fact, the list is long. So use the link to know more about some other interesting scholarships and grants for your immigrant student in college. However, if you are perplexed by the complexity of the situation, the best thing you can do is to seek the help of an immigration lawyer for students. 

Craig Stewarta year ago

Yes, that is correct, a student immigration lawyer can make your work easier and more effective, especially if you have little knowledge of the legal jargons involved. However, select your lawyer carefully. As an immigrant, you may not be familiar with the cost and time involved in it. This makes you more vulnerable to exploitation. Therefore, what I would like to suggest is that you should visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Service website and try to find an answer to your query before approaching a lawyer. In many cases, you will be able to find the answer on this website. If not, make sure that you call a number of lawyers and ask questions about their experience in the kind of problem you have, fees, estimated cost, estimated duration, and any other important questions you want to ask. Reach your decision only after calling a number of lawyers. 

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