New York State Youth Leadership Council

I Have Deferred Action but no Financial Aid



Nov 13


I applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and I got it! I really want to go to college. Is there any kind of help that I can get to pay for college or loans? I live in California. Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.

I received my work permit and my social security number. Now I don’t have a high school diploma or GED if I go to a college here in California, will I get financial aid or not?

Hi my name is Yvonne. I qualify for the Deferred Action. I need some help with applying for college. Am I eligible to apply and how do I go about it? I really want to do something else besides work, but also don’t want to be in school for so many years. How do I apply for private scholarships? I really need some advice. Please help. I left an email where you can get back to me with a response. Thanks

Dear Angy,
My senior year has just started and already we are preparing to start college applications. I have dreaded this year because I’m not sure want I can do. Earlier this year my Deferred Action was approved, and I got all my papers and I got my SSN and driving permit. But I don’t know if i can apply for FASFA. On the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, it requires you to be a legal citizen or resident and I’m not sure what I qualify as. I’ve taken many AP classes and kept my GPA at around 3.9. I would feel horrible if i can’t get the aid I need if I don’t get the aid i need to go to college. Help give me some advice!
AM, New York

Hi all,

Thank you so much for your email! This seems to be a common concern for many Deferred Action recipients and it hasn’t been the first time someone emails me with this questions. Check out this post I wrote before about some smalls steps to paying off college.

Here is a table with a quick summary of where some states fall in regards to in-state tuition, state financial aid and state scholarships:

State Financial Aid For Undocumented Students

*State scholarships

California, Illinois*, New Mexico, Minnesota and Texas
In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students Through Legislation

*In-state tuition through Board of Regents Decision

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii*, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma*, Oregon, Rhode Island*, Texas, Utah, and Washington
Prohibits In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students Arizona, Georgia and Indiana

Resource: For more information see

If you live in California, and are undocumented, you may qualify for aid in your state. Check out the resources created by E4FC. They have a guide detailing what AB540 means and an overview of financial aid programs in California. Once again, YES CALIFORNIA HAS STATE AID FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS.

Yvonne, yes! YES! Undocumented youth CAN go to college. Many states allow for undocumented students to attend their campus and may also provide private scholarships too. The college application process for undocumented students may be a little bit tricky, especially with Deferred Action since it’s a weird “immigration status”. However, it can happen! Be proactive about this and ask the college about the resources they have available to you.

Finally, AM, undocumented youth and Deferred Action recipients in New York are NOT eligible for state financial aid. But don’t lose hope! That’s the beautiful thing about being involved and using our collective power to make change happen…We are working on changing that by passing the New York Dream Act. The NYDA is a bill that would open the tuition assistance program for all youth regardless of immigration status. It would allow for us to access state aid and be able to afford college. Help us pass it!

Also, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund recently changed its policy about undocumented students and hopes to be able to offer scholarships. Check the website again and see if this time you’re able to find something that benefits you.

New York readers, the New York Dream Act would make a difference in the lives of many students. If you’re on a campus and wish to create a Dream Team or want to get involved with one of our existing Dream Teams, check out our Dream Campus Network. Please sign up to receive more information about us and the campaigns we are working on. Also, check out the efforts happening in New Jersey, they’re also pushing for state legislation that would help students go to college. Don’t just sit back but be part of the amazing work that is happening!


aaCreated on Oct 21, 2010. Ask Angy is the first undocumented youth advice column. It was born in the New York State Youth Leadership Council because there was no space to ask questions or seek advice. This blog is a space for youth to email their concerns, questions, stories or simply ask for help without being judged. Email them to Angy at or fill out this form.

This is a space to let it all out! You don’t have to bottle it up inside. Your stories and worries matter! You are not alone. Remember, the insecurities and fears you have, someone else is them having too. Don’t be afraid to speak out.


  • Stella

    Hello, I just read this story,

    My question is how did this person apply to the Deferred Action for Childhood and got it!
    They received their work permit and my social security number. but don’t have a high school diploma or GED? I would really like to know what did steps or what she proof she showed when applying! Thank you.