Filling Out the FAFSA: I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

If you're undocumented, do not complete the FAFSA before talking to your school’s financial aid office.
Anna Helhoski
By Anna Helhoski 
Updated
Edited by Alexandra Rice

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🤓Nerdy Tip

Is the new FAFSA available? After a weeklong "soft-launch" period, the redesigned FAFSA for the 2024-25 academic year is now available 24/7 at FAFSA.gov. Due to major processing delays, you won't be able to make changes to your submitted FAFSA until mid-March, at the soonest.

You can still submit the 2023-24 FAFSA until June 30, 2024.

Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for federal funds, but you can still get aid from your university. Some states allow undocumented immigrants to obtain in-state tuition, and undocumented students are eligible for some private scholarships as well.

Some schools even expand eligibility for grants and scholarships to undocumented immigrants. Berkeley allows undocumented immigrants to qualify for private scholarships along with UC and Cal Grants.

Seventeen states, including California, Florida, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, and the District of Columbia have state laws allowing undocumented immigrants who have attended a certain number of years of high school in the state to qualify for in-state tuition.

In addition to state legislatures, some state university systems provide in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants, so ask your university if you are eligible for in-state tuition.

Steps for filling out the FAFSA for undocumented immigrants

  1. Do not complete the FAFSA before contacting your school’s financial aid office.

  2. Contact your university’s financial aid office and explain your situation; see if they have university-specific advice or protocols. They may ask you to fill out the FAFSA with a Social Security number of 000-00-0000 to obtain an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) (replaced by the Student Aid Index starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA), which they may use to determine your aid award. Some states have passed their version of the Dream Act, so they may ask you to fill out their state Dream Act paperwork instead of a FAFSA.

  3. If you are applying to a school that offers in-state tuition, ask the financial aid office if you can qualify for the reduced in-state tuition rate.

  4. Apply for private scholarships and grants. Some private lenders may allow you to borrow a student loan with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen.

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