When an undocumented student applies for financial aid, is she considered a domestic student or an international student? How does the affect the aid she receives from a college?


Cynthia Carvajal, Masters student at Columbia University, Specialist on Immigrant and Undocumented Students Educational Rights

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Whether undocumented students are considered domestic or international depends whether the institution had developed their understanding of the undocumented student experience. Some schools can identify the difference between undocumented and international students. However, it is important to note that when undocumented students apply to higher education and financial aid, states and individual institutions have affidavits that students can submit to designate themselves as in-state/domestic students. Requirements for these affidavits is typically proof that the student attended high school for a certain number of years. This will provide them with the opportunity to be counted as in-state undocumented students rather than international students, which could lead to higher tuition costs and additional charges.

Whether students can apply or receive financial aid is dependent on whether the school or state provides financial aid through state DREAM Acts or legislation (Here is a map that breaks-down whether states provide financial aid)

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