Online College for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students without legal permits usually have a hard time getting into higher institutions to get degrees. Thankfully, there are ways through which undocumented students can earn degrees regardless of the difficulty that might come from a lack of funding and other challenges.

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Undocumented students registered as DACA recipients have a chance to follow their dreams, get jobs, and succeed. With DACA and other associations’ help, such students can pursue degrees and stay rooted in the career paths they choose to follow.

What is DACA?

DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program introduced by President Obama in 2012, and it prevents young illegal immigrants from getting deported and ensures employment.

The advent of DACA has enabled many non-citizens to get an education, go to work, and live freely without getting deported. President Trump’s administration tried to end the program but only succeeded in stopping new applications. People already with DACA certification are safe and can always apply for renewal. They can also qualify for scholarships and financial aid efforts.

Nonetheless, those without ownership of a DACA certification still have access to financial aid options to help them get an education.

Can An Undocumented Student Go to College?

Undocumented students are allowed to go to schools and earn degrees like other students. The only challenge they might encounter is state bans preventing them from enrolling in public higher institutions. States with these laws in the U.S. are Alabama and South Carolina.

Apart from this minor inconvenience, students can school anywhere and even enroll in private colleges. This freedom of schooling in their chosen institution is possible because schools are allowed to set their policies regarding the admission of undocumented students.

Many online programs are of high quality, which implies that there’s no limit to students’ options regardless of their nationality or legal residency.

Benefits of an Online Degree for Undocumented Students

There are tons of benefits one would miss out on with just a high school diploma. Thankfully, an online degree can help avert this. A degree leads to more and improved job opportunities and higher earning potential, two of the most significant advantages of earning a degree.

Apart from these, there are other benefits associated with an online degree. With online programs, undocumented students now have access to schools across the country they would otherwise be unable to attend. Online degrees offer students more options for an education in whatever school they choose at an affordable price. Students also don’t have to move from place to place.

Taking classes online reduces the risks of anxiety, discrimination, and stress that undocumented students might undergo in the face of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and unwelcoming colleagues or tutors.

Besides, it saves the students a lot of money they would have otherwise spent on accommodation and transportation because of the lower tuition fees. Even better, some schools provide the same tuition rate to all online students despite the differences in location.

Apart from the benefit of saving money, undocumented students also have the advantage of flexibility. They can pay attention to equally essential responsibilities without having to sacrifice one thing for the other.
It helps students stay close to home and family while navigating immigration policies that are always changing.

How to Choose an Online School That’s Right for You

There are specific vital resources and services to consider when choosing an online school to enroll in.
Acceptance Policy
Schools make their rules on the acceptance or rejection of undocumented students. While some policies are clearly and publicly stated, others aren’t. For this reason, be sure to contact the school for information about this.
In-State Tuition
Check for your school of interest’s tuition options for online students. Schools offering the same in-state tuition rate for all online students irrespective of their location should be considered to provide a lower-cost alternative.
Available Programs
Seeking knowledge of the programs available is very important because some schools have many online programs to choose from while others are limited to just a few.
Available Student Resources and Support
During the search for a school offering the online program of your choice, check for the availability of online services like mental health/counseling resources, bilingual advisors, legal services, health resources, technical resources, student groups for undocumented students and students of color, and sanctuary campuses concerned with the protection of undocumented students.

Undocumented Students as International Students

Some schools admit undocumented students as international students. The implication is a much more expensive tuition fee. As a part of the admission requirements, you may have to take and pass an English proficiency test.

How Undocumented Students Can Pay for College

Payment of college fees by undocumented students can be quite challenging because of the lack of federal or state financial aid eligibility. Regardless, a few states like Oregon, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, California, New Mexico, and Washington offer state financial aid to undocumented students.

Students may need to fill out a FAFSA to apply for state financial aid. A social security number is also required while filling the application out. An SSN can be obtained through DACA for undocumented students. Those without SSNs will need to fill the state application form for financial aid from their state.

Another way is to get in-state tuition for undocumented students. Some states allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. To qualify for it, students need to have graduated high school or earned their GED in that state. Alternatively, for those who do not qualify, some online schools offer in-state tuition rates to all online students irrespective of their home state.

Scholarships are another common way to go while trying to pay for school. Many schools, organizations, and foundations support increasing undocumented students’ access to higher education. Some of the available scholarships for undocumented students who don’t qualify for state aid include the Golden Door Scholars award, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the National College Match for low-income students.

Resources for Undocumented Students

There are essential resources undocumented students should keep in mind while searching for an online school. These services or resources should also be readily available. They include:

  • Bilingual advisors
  • Career services
  • Mental health and counseling services
  • Access to free or discounted legal services
  • Access to health centers
  • Student groups and clubs for undocumented students
  • Tutoring services


As an undocumented student, you can still achieve your dream and land that job your heart desires; all you need to do is get registered with DACA.

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