Paying For College


Seven Ways That You Can Pay For College

If you are an undocumented student and meet the AB 540 requirements, the first thing you should do is apply for the California Dream Act by March 2. You may be required to submit additional documents to UC Riverside Financial Aid. Visit the financial aid website for additional document deadlines. If you attend UC Riverside, you can do this by logging in to R'Web.

Note: About 20 percent of students will get selected for verification  and will have to submit additional documentation to verify household income and size.

Because undocumented students do not qualify for federal assistance, you should apply for scholarships to help cover any cost that is not covered by the California Dream Act. 

Scholarship applications can sometimes be tedious, but consider that an hour spent on an application can earn you $500—that could mean a month’s rent!

In addition to using the scholarship resources above, check for local scholarships in your hometown. Ask your town’s chambers of commerce, PTSA, and local nonprofits and foundations. Although these scholarships tend to be less generous, they also tend to be less competitive.

Tips for Applying:

  • Prioritize your findings by month, according to application date.
  • Record deadlines on a calendar and check regularly.
  • Schedule time to:
    • Obtain transcripts
    • Secure letters of recommendation
    • Write requested essays
    • Complete the application
    • Customize your resume and personal statement for each application

If you have been granted work authorization under DACA, consider a part time job on- or off-campus. The Career Center has job postings specifically for UCR students. If you have a unique skill or talent, consider using that skill to earn money. Perhaps you can teach guitar lessons or design a website. Or maybe you’re an amazing cook or baker. There are many creative ways to use your skills to earn money!

There is also the option of Deferred Payment Plan (DPP). The Deferred Payment Plan is designed to give students an opportunity to pay tuition and fees over an extended period of time. Contact Student Business Services for more information.

Apply for AB 540 tuition exemption (for eligible California high school graduates). If you qualify, you will pay in-state vs. out-of-state tuition. Learn more and see our FAQ section for more answers to questions regarding tuition exemption.

Unfortunately undocumented students do not qualify for federal aid such as Federal Work Study, Pell Grants or Federal loans. Therefore, students have a gap in their financial aid. Unless you can secure additional funding through private scholarships or family contributions, it is strongly suggested that you seek ways to cut costs by finding affordable housing off campus, rent/borrow books, etc. However, do not let the lack of federal aid deter you from attending college! Many undocumented students find ways to cut costs and make up some of the difference.

See more advice on how to pay for college.  

For Parents & Guardians 

If you or your student is seeking help to pay for college, this family guide can help you find the best approaches to paying for school. (Available in English and Spanish.)