If you arrived to the U.S. before the age of 15, you may be eligible for Deferred Action. Read more here.
Know Your Rights
All undocumented students in the United States have the right to attend grammar school and high school. In 1982 the Supreme Court of the United States decided in the case of Plyer v Doe that undocumented immigrants had the same rights as citizens to equal protection under the law. Legally, no one has the right to deny undocumented youth access to grammar school and high school. Now colleges and universities, we are still working on.
Illinois has in-state tuition for undocumented students. HB 60, passed in 2003, qualifies eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition when attending public universities in Illinois. In order to qualify, students must meet the following requirements:
- Live with their parent or guardian while attending a public or private high school in Illinois.
- Graduate from a public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Illinois (the GED).
- Attend school in Illinois for at least 3 years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma.
- “In the case of an individual who is not a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, the individual provides the university with an affidavit stating that the individual will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity the individual is eligible to do so.” (Like this one, from the University of Illinois)
We also recently passed the Illinois Dream Act, which is in the process of setting up a private scholarship fund for undocumented and immigrant students. Find everything you need to know on the Illinois Dream Act here.
- IYJL’s Immigrant Youth Financial Resource Guide
- Illinois Dream Act Student Guide
- Family Guide for Dreamers, from Dreamers Unidos [También en Español]
- Private Scholarship Guide, from Dreamers Unidos
- Financial Aid and Scholarships for Undocumented Students, from FinAid
- Scholarships for Undocumented Students, from FastWeb
- Enlace Chicago Private Scholarship Guide
- Student Resource Guide from Rep. Roybal-Allard
- MALDEF Scholarship List 2010-2011
Remember that there are just not enough scholarships for all undocumented youth who want to go to school, which is why we are fighting for the opening of more opportunities, and for a change in the laws.
Don’t be afraid to challenge your school or scholarship institutions if they are not supporting undocumented students. Both as an ally and as an undocumented student you have the right to fight for inclusion and resources. Perhaps you can start an undocumented student organization at school, or start by meeting with teachers and counselors and share these resources with them, and encourage them to make institutional changes.
Also, if you are doing all this, or if you need help, consider becoming active as a member of IYJL or other local organizations fighting for undocumented youth rights so that we can all have access to education.