UW Dream Project

Undocumented students

This page exists to provide information to support students whose presence in the United States is undocumented. The Dream Project’s goal is to provide all students with access to higher education, regardless of their background. If you are still have questions about the effect of undocumented status on college admissions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


An undocumented student is a foreign national who: (1) entered the United States without inspection or with fraudulent documents; or (2) entered legally as a non-immigrant but then violated the terms of his or her status and remained in the United States without authorization (as defined by the National Immigration Law Center).

Many college-bound undocumented students:

  • have lived in the United States most of their lives
  • have been brought to the United States by their parents at a young age
  • have learned English
  • have attended elementary, middle, and high school in the United States
  • have excelled academically in high school and want to pursue a college education

The undocumented status of a student exempts them from applying for federal student aid using the FAFSA, but this does not have to be a barrier to attending and succeeding in college. Below are resources that will support undocumented students in Washington state to attain and fund their higher education.

WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid)

This year there is a new application available for eligible undocumented students to access State Need Grant funds. Depending on your financial need, this could mean over ten thousand dollars free grant money to pay for tuition. See www.readysetgrad.org/wasfa for details and to apply.

HB 1079

House Bill signed into law by Governor Gary Locke on May 7, 2003. It allows undocumented students topay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. Students must have lived in WA state for at least 3 years and have attained their high school diploma or GED.

The student needs to sign an affidavit in order to receive or be eligible for HB 1079. (affidavit here)

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

  1. Safe guards from deportation )
  2. Attain a work permit for 2 years
  3. Stops unlawful status for 3 to 10 year bans under 18 years
  4. Does not equal citizenship
  5. Does not allow you to obtain a driver’s license or in-state tuition if your state does not allow it

To be eligible for DACA, you must

  1. Be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  2. Have entered the US under the age of 16 years
  3. Have continued residence is US since June 15, 2007
  4. Have been present in the US on June 15, 2012 and when making the request
  5. Currently be in school or graduated

For more information: visit unitedwedream.org.

Check out a list of scholarships for undocumented students. Here is another, older list of scholarships that may be useful.