Childhood immigrants face unique challenges in the United States. Many youths grew up in the United States and consider it their home. Unfortunately, they often face barriers that make it difficult to pursue higher education.
USA Facts shows over 10 million unauthorized immigrants might live in the United States. Of this population, children are the most vulnerable and require the most assistance. See below for three common problems childhood immigrants face.
1. Applying for financial aid
One of the most significant challenges for childhood immigrants is access to financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a critical resource for students who need help paying for college, but it is not available for immigrants. Fortunately, there are other financial aid programs for immigrants.
2. Providing documentation
Another challenge that childhood immigrants often face is a lack of documentation. Childhood immigrants need documentation to prove their residency or eligibility for specific programs. For example, undocumented immigrants may struggle to obtain driver’s licenses or access healthcare.
3. Handling their own casework
Childhood immigrants must manage their casework for the first time at some point. Many immigrants grew up relying on their parents or other family members to navigate the complex immigration system. However, once they reach the age of 18, they are often required to manage their immigration case. Without the proper resources or guidance, they may struggle to understand the paperwork and procedures required to maintain their legal status.
Despite these challenges, many childhood immigrants will succeed in higher education and achieve their goals. Some schools and organizations offer scholarships for young immigrants, and resources are available to help students navigate the application process.