Applying as an undocumented student

Applying as an undocumented student


– My name is Mandeep Chahal and I’m a recent college graduate. I’m also undocumented and I want to share some tips and resources
that were helpful for me when I was applying to
and paying for college. I first found out I was
undocumented when I was 16, but I didn’t really know what that meant. It only became clear to me when I started the process of applying to college, that my status was
going to be an obstacle. Although I was initially very
discouraged and disappointed, I knew that I had worked
really hard in high school and that I deserved to go to college. I was very proactive in finding resources, both on my campus and
online, that could guide me. I think it’s really important
for students to know that there’s no federal
law that will stop them from applying to college. It’s also safe to reveal
your status to schools because your student records
will never be turned over to any government agency. Another thing that can be difficult for students is figuring
out how to pay for college. Since there’s no federal financial aid for undocumented students
it’s important that students be very proactive in finding scholarships and other
things to pay for college. So for myself one of the
things that was really helpful for me in applying
to college was AB 540. This is a bill in California
that allows students to pay in-state tuition and
this is great because in-state tuition is often
times much cheaper than out-of-state tuition and
there are many other states that have similar laws so
it’s important for students to be aware of what the
rules are in their own state. Another thing that was
really helpful for me is the California Dream Act. This was passed in 2011 and
it allows certain students in California to access
state financial aid as well as financial aid at their schools. This was great for me because
I could finally focus on finding internships and other
opportunities for myself instead of always worrying about how I was going to pay for college. There are many other states in the US that have similar rules
for undocumented students, so once again, it’s very
important for students to be knowledgeable and to
reach out to their school and see if this is a possibility. Another thing that was helpful for me in paying for college was Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals. This was an executive order
signed by President Obama, which protects students from deportation and also grants work permits. So for me, before I had DACA
I had to work every summer and save up a lot of
money so that I could pay for the next quarter of college. However, once I had DACA
I could actually find a job on campus in a lab
where I was making money to pay for college, but also I was working in a field that I was interested in. DACA is open to, you know,
many students across the US, so it’s important you figure
out if you’re eligible to apply, and if you are make
sure to go ahead and do so. Finally, the last thing that
was super helpful for me in applying to college
was private scholarships. As soon as I had decided
I was going to college I started looking for scholarships. There are scholarships
that are specifically for undocumented students, but I made sure I didn’t limit myself. I applied to all the
scholarships that I could find. And if there was ever a
time that the form said, you know, “this scholarship
is only for citizens “or only for permanent
residents” I would call the scholarship and say, you know, “I’m undocumented but I’m
very interested in this “scholarship and I think
I would be a good fit”, and in my experience I found
that a lot of scholarships were open to that and would
be willing to, you know, grant the money to whoever
they thought deserved it. So, in my experience, although
initially I was, you know, very anxious and scared
about applying to college and I didn’t know if I
was going to be able to afford it and I didn’t know
whether I would graduate. However, since I was so
proactive I was able to make all of those things happen. So my advice for students
out there would, you know, would be to do the same
thing, to be proactive, you know, make sure you
apply because there’s no harm in doing so. Make sure you’re proactive
and you reach out to scholarships and to
your school and to your support system, because
there are a lot of people out there who will support
you, and, you know, if this is something that
you really want you can definitely make it happen.

28 Comments on "Applying as an undocumented student"


  1. We have a man who is an undocumented immigrant, has a BA degree from UC and has worked at a fortune 500 Company in SFO and is the sr. director of a group of Engineers and he actually tells the Engineers with PE licenses how to do their job. He is making $250K per year plus annual bonus. He is siphoning all his money back to his country of origin because he isn't going to get SS or medicare here and has no plans to retire here. All his kids were born in his home country and they are all sneaked across the border through mexico. Who says that undocumented workers have it bad in this country? The US is the only country where you don't need papers to immigarte and the dumb tax payers will support you all the way through from cradle to grave.

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  2. Only 2 types of students should have the right to attend college, US citizens and resident aliens, any foreign students should have a visa to attend college, like the F-1 visa. My hope is that Trump will end this DACA mess left by Obama which allows illegal aliens to attend college, pay in-state tuition, and in many instances they even get scholarships, this is absurd.

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  3. There are a lot of negative comments and it makes me sad that people are this ignorant. There are many opportunities and you could take them whether you're legal or illegal. It's up to you if you want to look for them or not.

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  4. Happy for you but the time is up; Amnesty for DACA is unjust and unfair to all American who is in jail for small crimes. Amnesty for all American especially for Black American who are held accountable at any ages for everything…. Also, Havard sold black slaves children to finance the school . Racis hate descendants of slvery and illegal immigrants can't complian or fight about slavery

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  5. I'm not saying all illegals are bad and i understand some of their situations can be tough but let's not be ignorant that:
    Every illegal immigrant who gets a so-called education and a nice job takes it from somebody who spent the time/money to come here legally (yes, even Hispanic immigrants who came legally). illegals pay no FEDERAL INCOME taxes (the big tax right there) or else they steal SS numbers and then qualify for welfare…not that you need a SS number to get ER care, public schooling (college too in some states), calling 911, using roads/bridges etc. (and how do we know if they're not a former DUI who fled their homeland from too many DUIs, or other illegal activity).
    Maybe fight for improving their homeland instead breaking into here and complaining and demanding here.

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  6. sad to see the ignorant comments here. Its easy to tell that some people dont bother doing their research before complaining that undocumented students dont pay taxes (not true, especially for DACA recipients) or that they benefit from federal aid (also not true, undocumented students are ineligible for FAFSA). She didnt "steal" anybodys spot in college. If anything, she took the spot she earned through her own talents and skills instead of losing that spot to some entitled citizen who is not as smart and talented as her but just happened to be born at the right place at the right time.

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  7. in other words after you have cheated American taxpayers for 12 years of education, here's how you can game the system for four more years.

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  8. Get out of my contry. You did something Illegal. That's right being here. You are not welcome here. If I went to your contry, they would never want to educate me. Shame on the schools for accepting her over a diserving american studnet. Admissions officials diserve their head to be sliced off for commiting such devistating tragedys.

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  9. http://www.nfap.com/pdf/New%20NFAP%20Policy%20Brief%20The%20Importance%20of%20International%20Students%20to%20America,%20July%202013.pdf I guess America does need immigrants

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  10. WOW! Then there is MY son who is an American Citizen that owes over 100k in loans! Working his way through college is very tough on a full-time student so not only did he have to pay his own education, he had to help pay for this illegal aliens education, and many more by way of taxes!!! For this reason alone I FIGHT EVERY DAY in many communities to not only expose illegal aliens but to have them deported! I am VERY proud of my work, I do not feel bad for the 100s that are gone because I refuse to allow this bullshit happen to children that are citizens! There is NO money in FASFA because the system is DRAINED! The money has to come from somewhere to pay for these people and FASFA has been slashed!!

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  11. It's quite sad to know that no matter how far you succeed in life, there will always be others to bring you down. I am an immigrant myself but my father was born here in the United States. He speaks perfect english and is a Chicano. My mother was from Mexico but she worked her ass off to get her Citizenship. I was unlucky to be born in Mexico but i have lived here in the U. S for 17 years. My parents tried so hard to get my papers but it was always turned down. I'm a senior in high school but I'm struggling trying to find ways to pay for my education. Please, if there's anyone with information about my situation and how I can achieve my dreams as a music teacher, I will be happy. But again, I'm sad to see how people react to immigrants. It's not our fault we want a better life and to have a country of "Freedom" Kick us out for trying to achieve it. Just sad

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  12. Truth is, I respect immigrants who come here for school or military. That's it. I saw Mexicans, Guam citizens, Asians, as well as Hondurans and Haitians, Puerto Rican's, Filipinos, all join the military for their citizenship. To them my heart goes out to you and yours. To the workers who send our money to their country, I hold you higher than some illegal shit, but the Military and college route are the true legit ones in my opinion.

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  13. I came to the states at a very young age brought by immigrant parents to give their children a better future , at an age that I wasn’t even aware of my surroundings and why I was in a whole new country . That being said , I understand that a lot of Americans and people that are legal in this country are mad at immigrants for “ taking their jobs” and people discriminate us for fleeing our home country to sneak in here for a better future, I know my parents story and why they did what they did . I really wish some people would be in an immigrant persons shoes and having to choose between leaving your home country or not feeding your kids. I’m pretty sure you guys as parents would pick the obvious( I hope ) , and we’re not stealing jobs , we’re earning them and working hard for them, you as a legal person have the chance and right to go look for another job if you didn’t get the job some people don’t . I really wish we would stop judging each other for our legal status and have some humanity and understanding why people leave their country .

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  14. I'm confused, don't schools require documents for you to attend? Shouldn't this be basic acceptance?

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