SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

FAFSA & FINANCIAL AID
FOR Immigrant Families

Need Money for College?
Get Started Here

Green box with a bow that had a bag of money inside it.

Are you an immigrant to the United States? Immigrants and students from immigrant families can get money to attend college. Your strategy for getting financial aid will differ depending on you and your family’s immigration status. Here’s what you need to know.

First, please check out our *new* FAFSA Guide to get the latest information for the 2024-25 college year.

Also, you may also be interested in a recent article we published for parents without Social Security numbers.

Learn how the new FAFSA works and what parents without documentation need to do to get FSA IDs and fill out the FAFSA. (This January has been a major challenge for all parents without Social Security numbers.)

How to Get an FSA ID Without a Social Security Number

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Not a citizen? Parents not citizens? You are in good company. Students from immigrant families account for more than a quarter of students attending college in the United States.

And a small but significant group of these college students are undocumented. Many states and colleges are trying to increase financial aid and support for undocumented students.

Whatever your citizenship status, you can apply to college and seek money to pay for it. We have some information to get started here.

Then talk to an adult you trust at home or at school. Counselors will protect your privacy. You can also confidentially contact folks at the FAFSA to ask about your family’s situation. FAFSA’s phone number is 1-800-433-3243

For Students with Parents Who Are Not U.S. Citizens

For students, there is one simple rule to keep in mind: If you are a citizen and/or you have a social security number, you can fill out the FAFSA and are eligible for all federal aid (including grants, loans, and work-study income).

This is true even if your parents are not U.S. citizens or undocumented. It is safe for your family to apply for aid and for your parents to sign the FAFSA form. By law, all information on the FAFSA must be kept confidential.

Just keep in mind: The financial aid process will look a bit different if the parent signing the FAFSA form is not a U.S. citizen. Here are the two main differences on the new FAFSA for student apply to go to college in fall 2024 or later:

You will need to obtain an FSA ID using a new process for parents without Social Security numbers. Read this article to learn more about getting your FSA ID. 

Once you have your FSA ID, you will login to the FAFSA and fill it out in the same way all parents do. For those who have filled out the FAFSA in the past, you will see big improvements. The new FAFSA accepts ITINs, so you can upload your tax information making the form simple and easy. And there is no more need for a signature page. All parents sign the form electronically. Read our latest FAFSA Guide to learn all about the new FAFSA. 

Q&A: For Families with Undocumented Students or Parents

If I am undocumented, can I get financial aid?

Unfortunately, you cannot receive federal money. This is true for all undocumented students, including those granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. But you may be able to get state or local grants or money from your college and private scholarships. Here is some advice and resources for undocumented students. And take a look at the latest scholarship sites and strategies we recommend.

I’m a citizen, but one of my parents is undocumented. Can I get financial aid?

Yes. You and your family can safely apply for financial aid. Parents do not need  Social Security numbers to fill out the FAFSA. Filling out the FAFSA is safe for parents who are undocumented. Learn about which parent or parents need to help you with your FAFSA by reading our latest FAFSA Guide

What if both of my parents are undocumented?

You and your family can safely apply for aid. At least one of your parents will need to get an FSA ID and help you fill out the FAFSA. Once your parents login to the FAFSA, they will be following the exact same instructions as documented immigrants. No one will know they are undocumented.

More Help for Immigrant Families

TOOLS AND RESOURCES

Are You Eligible for Financial Aid?

Federal student aid is often available for families that have immigrated to the U.S. But it’s important to know the rules before you fill out the FAFSA. Start here to see if you are eligible for federal financial aid.

Inside Information for Immigrant Families

This government site offers crucial how-to information for immigrant parents and students filling out the FAFSA. Useful for both educators and families.

Have an ITIN? What You Need to Know

Immigrant parents may have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead of a Social Security Number. This number is used to pay taxes. But it can’t be used to fill out the FAFSA. Learn more.

More Help

Financial Help for Immigrant Students

Every student can go to college, regardless of immigration status. New York City’s school district provides advice and resources for families getting started on this journey.

Types of Aid Available for Immigrant Families

Who gets what? This helpful wrap-up explains what kind of aid is available, depending on your family’s immigration status.

Higher Ed Rights & Resources for Immigrant Families

All students, regardless of immigration status, have the right to attend K-12 public schools and seek a college degree. NILC provides legal and funding resources.