1. First: Apply for the California Dream Act.
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.
2. Apply for scholarships.
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!
- See scholarships that don't require proof of citizenship/residency.
- Download the MALDEF Scholarship Resource Guide.
- See scholarships available through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
- Apply for our R'Dream Scholarship and Book Grant!
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
3. Consider working.
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!
4. Use the Deferred Payment Plan.
5. Apply for AB 540 tuition exemption.
6. Apply for internships and fellowships.
Some internships and fellowships are paid. See our internships and fellowships section.
7. Find ways to save money.
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.
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