5 Tips For Advising Undocumented Students About Financial Aid

Contact: Beth Maglione
VP of Communications
(202) 785-6944

Feb. 24, 2014 -- This week, Washington became the most recent state to pass a version of the DREAM Act, which would make some of its young undocumented residents eligible for state financial aid when they apply for college. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is expected to sign the measure into law.

The plight of prospective college-going undocumented students is easing slowly but surely. At least 17 states have passed some version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, allowing qualifying students without citizenship status to pay in-state tuition at public colleges in the state in which they reside. But many of those states still do not extend state financial aid eligibility to undocumented students, so college remains an expensive endeavor. 

And even in states that have passed a version of the DREAM Act, undocumented students could face the possibility of having their in-state tuition privileges revoked. In Nebraska, for example, some members of the state legislature want to repeal the statute that grants certain undocumented students in-state tuition eligibility. 

This leaves colleges and universities across the national working to understand what their state allows, and how to apply their state’s laws and regulations in such a way as to help the most students reach their college-going dreams. NASFAA has penned a column offering "5 Tips For Advising Undocumented Students About Financial Aid.”

Advice includes: 

  1. Research the political landscape of your state and university: Before you can help students, you need to know the political realities and possibilities in your state.
  2. Mobilize local high school officials 
  3. Empower students: Encourage students to tap into their networks and communities for assistance—early and often, if possible. 
  4. Tap into your own network: Talk to others at your institution and at nearby schools for helpful hints, anecdotes, and best practices they’ve developed along the way. 
  5. Utilize NASFAA resources: Write your lawmaker, refer to NASFAA’s 2011 Senate testimony, resources related to “deferred action” for the undocumented, and this 2011 state-by-state policy analysis as resources in crafting your message. 

Again, please read the full article here.

To speak to a NASFAA spokesperson about how financial aid offices can work to apply the DREAM Act on a state-by-state basis, please email news@NASFAA.org or call (202) 785-6944.

About NASFAA  

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at approximately 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, DC, NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org