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Resources for Undocumented Students and MN Dream Act


 

UPDATE 9/5/2017: President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to phase out and eventually end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Minnesota Dream Act remains intact. One benefit of the Minnesota Dream Act is access to the Minnesota State Work Study program; students are required to document eligibility to work in the U.S. in order to utilize this program. DACA recipients may continue to utilize Minnesota Work Study until their work authorization expires. The MN Dream Act remains in place for Minnesota students who qualify. This includes access to the Minnesota State Grant, Minnesota Childcare Grant, Teacher Candidate Grant, Occupational Grant, Dual-Training Grant, Minnesota SELF Loan, in-state tuition rates and privately funded financial aid through public colleges and universities.

Changes to DACA September 2017

Individuals with a work permit issued via the DACA program should:

  • Review their Employment Authorization Card (work permit)
  • Determine when it expires;
  • If it expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, the individual must file their DACA renewal application BEFORE October 5, 2017
  • There is free and low-cost legal help available in Minnesota
  • La Terminacion de los Permisos de DACA

Resources for informational purposes:

Additional PDFs in multiple languages are available at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.


In May 2013, the MN Dream Act (also known as the Prosperity Act) was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton. Undocumented students meeting the criteria in the MN Dream Act are now eligible for in-state tuition rates, privately funded financial aid administered by Minnesota public colleges and universities and can apply for state financial aid. Minnesota students granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may also be eligible for these benefits. Learn more about the MN Dream Act and how to apply for these benefits.

Federal Grants

To apply for a federal grant, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which requires the student's social security number. To qualify for a federal grant, you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or an eligible non-citizen. You are an eligible non-citizen if you:

  • are a U.S. permanent resident with a Card (I-551)
  • are a conditional permanent resident with an I-551C card
  • have an Arrival Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security with any of the following designations: a refugee, asylum granted, a parolee, a Cuban-Haitian entrant, a victim of human trafficking or a holder of T-Visa.

If you are a citizen or eligible non-citizen, you can qualify for federal grants even if your parents are undocumented. When you complete the FAFSA, you can enter all zeros for your parents' social security numbers.

State Grants

Undocumented students are eligible to apply for a MN State Grant and other state financial aid programs if they were granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) prior to establishing state residency or if they meet all the requirements for the MN Dream Act. Otherwise, students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens to apply for a MN State Grant using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Scholarships

Some colleges and universities may have scholarships available to students regardless of immigration status. It's important to check with the campus that interests you to learn more about possible (school-specific) scholarship opportunities. Many financial aid counselors are aware of and sensitive to your situation and will try to assist you as best they can.

Several private organizations maintain online lists of scholarships. Here is a partial list of scholarships, both national and based in Minnesota, for which undocumented students may be eligible.

Tuition Policies

Students meeting MN Dream Act criteria are eligible for in-state tuition rates at Minnesota public colleges and universities. Minnesota students granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may also be eligible for in-state tuition rates. Undocumented students attending the University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and the Twin Cities can apply for in-state tuition rates by using the same application used to apply for state financial aid under the MN Dream Act. Otherwise, undocumented students attending other public colleges and universities should apply directly with the campus for in-state tuition rates.

Even if you do not qualify for the MN Dream Act, some public colleges and universities in Minnesota offer in-state tuition to all of their students, regardless of immigration status or state of residence. The following public institutions charge the in-state tuition rate to all students:

  • Alexandria Technical College: Alexandria
  • Anoka-Ramsey Community College: Cambridge and Coon Rapids
  • Anoka Technical College: Anoka
  • Bemidji State University: Bemidji
  • Central Lakes College: Brainerd and Staples
  • Century College: White Bear Lake
  • Dakota County Technical College: Rosemount
  • Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College
  • Hennepin Technical College: Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie
  • Inver Hills Community College: Inver Grove Heights
  • Minneapolis Community and Technical College: Minneapolis
  • Minnesota State College-Southeast: Red Wing and Winona
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College: Fergus Falls, Moorhead, Wadena and Detroit Lakes
  • Minnesota West College: Jackson, Granite Falls, Worthington, Pipestone, Canby
  • Normandale Community College: Bloomington
  • North Hennepin Community College: Brooklyn Park
  • Northland College: Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks
  • Northwest Technical College: Bemidji
  • Ridgewater College: Willmar and Hutchinson
  • Riverland College: Austin and Albert Lea
  • Rochester Community and Technical College: Rochester
  • St. Cloud Technical College: St. Cloud
  • Saint Paul College: St. Paul
  • South Central College: Mankato and Faribault
  • Southwest Minnesota State University: Marshall
  • University of Minnesota, Crookston: Crookston

Student Loans

Federal student loans, such as the Stafford Direct Loan program, are not available to undocumented students. Minnesota offers a loan program called the SELF Loan Program, which is available to students regardless of immigration status. A separate application is used to apply for the SELF Loan, available through the college's financial aid office. A qualified borrower who is an undocumented student must have a credit-worthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. For more information on the SELF Loan Program, visit www.selfloan.state.mn.us.