What immigrant families should know about college applications and FAFSA

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Immigration Law

Many immigrant families want nothing more than for their children to have the best opportunities possible. This often goes hand-in-hand with higher education, but affording college can be difficult even in the best of circumstances.

Fortunately, there are financial aid programs such as FAFSA that help families of all backgrounds pay for college. Unique citizenship statuses can make the college application process complicated, though, so it is important to understand how to navigate FAFSA for immigrant families.

For students with non-citizen parents

A parent’s citizenship status does not affect the student’s eligibility for receiving financial aid through FAFSA. If the student is a citizen or has a social security number, they can easily fill out the FAFSA form and apply for aid. This process is safe even for families with undocumented parents, as all information submitted to FAFSA is entirely confidential.

For undocumented students

Students who are undocumented are unable to receive federal financial aid through FAFSA, even if they have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. However, many states and colleges have initiatives in place to help support undocumented students. It may be possible to receive state or local grants or even private scholarships.

FAFSA provides financial aid and support opportunities to a wide variety of families who need it, including immigrant families with parents that have undocumented citizenship status. Students who come from immigrant families can easily apply for aid through FAFSA if they have their own citizenship status, but it is important to keep in mind that undocumented students without a social security number may not be eligible for federal aid.