Can Daca Recipients Get Student Loans?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that provides temporary protection from deportation for individuals who were brought to the United States as children. The program does not provide a pathway to citizenship, but DACA recipients can apply for a work permit and attend college in every state except Alabama and South Carolina. While DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid programs (such as the Federal Pell Grant or the Federal Direct Loan), they may qualify for state aid, private loans, and scholarships.
Applying for State Aid as a DACA Student
State aid varies based on the DACA student’s state of residence. The college or university may require the DACA student to fill out the FASFA form to apply for aid. The FASFA form requires a social security number, which is provided as a DACA recipient. If the DACA recipient lives in the following states, they are eligible to apply for state financial aid through FASFA.
FASFA Eligible States
- New Jersey
The DREAM Act is designed to offer financial aid programs to students in the DACA program. The requirements and aid options vary state-to-state, but the following states have a DREAM Act to offer support to DACA students.
DREAM Act States
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
If a state does not offer state aid for DACA students, they may offer in-state tuition rates for DACA students.
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
Members of the DACA program should reach out to the college or university directly to determine what state aid is available for DACA students.
Applying for Private Loans as a DACA Student
After reviewing state options, DACA students may look to private loans to fund the remainder of their college tuition. Private loans are often more challenging to apply for because they consider a variety of factors such as:
- Applicant’s credit score
- Applicant’s income
- Expected family contribution
- Co-signer (A co-signer may be required in order to guarantee repayment)
Compare student loans on Credible to determine if a private loan is right for you.
Applying for Scholarships as a DACA Student
There are several scholarship opportunities for DACA students. Scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back, making them ideal for covering tuition costs. Some programs may be provided through the college or university, but other scholarship opportunities include:
- The Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Immigrants Rising
- The Ascend Educational Fund (for New York City residents)
- California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation (California residents only)
- The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
- Golden Door Scholars
FAQs For Can Daca Recipients Get Student Loans
Are DACA students eligible for federal aid?
No, DACA students are not eligible for federal aid such as the Pell Grant or Federal Direct Loan.
What factors are considered when applying for private loans as a DACA student?
Factors that may be considered when applying for private loans include
- Credit score
- Cost of attendance (tuition total)
- Graduation date
A co-signer may also be required to guarantee repayment.
How does a DACA student fill out FASFA?
For a detailed guide on how to fill out FASFA, reference DACA Student’s Guide to Filling out the FAFSA for 2023-24 or contact your college or university’s registrar’s office.
Can Daca Recipients Get Student Loans Conclusion
While there are several financial aid options for DACA students, they can be challenging to navigate. DACA students should begin the journey by completing the FASFA form to determine if they are eligible for state aid. Then, they may look to outside scholarship sources, and finally private loans. It is important to remember that loans require repayment with interest, while scholarships, grants, and aid do not require repayment.