WCSU Announces Institutional Aid Availability for Undocumented Students

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WCSU Announces Institutional Aid Availability for Undocumented Students

By Angela Barbosa

Many people are unaware that there are opportunities available to undocumented immigrants to pursue their higher education. Undocumented status is not a legal obstacle to attending a U.S. college.

According to the College Board, a mission-driven, not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity, “Undocumented students may incorrectly assume that they cannot legally attend college in the United States. However, there is no federal or state law that prohibits the admission of undocumented immigrants to U.S. colleges, public or private. Federal or state laws do not require students to prove citizenship in order to enter U.S. institutions of higher education. Yet institutional policies on admitting undocumented students vary.”

Western Connecticut State University recently announced that there is still time for students, regardless of their immigration status, to apply for institutional need-based aid for 2020-2021.

“No aid was awarded to undocumented students for Fall 2019. The first group was awarded for Spring 2020; 23 students applied and 21 were awarded aid. No applications have been received for 2020-2021 yet,” explained Paul Steinmetz, WCSU’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations.

The deadline for the institutional aid is March 1st, 2020. To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:

– Classified as an in-state student for tuition purposes;

– Thirty years of age or younger on June 15, 2012;

– Sixteen years of age or younger when they arrived in the United States and have continuously resided in the United States since such arrival; and

– Have not been convicted of a felony in this state or another state.

Institutional financial aid is awarded based on financial need and availability of funding.  In order to be considered for institutional financial aid, undocumented students must meet these additional eligibility requirements:

– Must be classified as an in-state student for tuition purposes;

– Must be accepted into a degree or eligible certificate program;

– Must be meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy at the attending institution;

– Must meet any priority deadlines or requirements published by the attending institution related to the receipt of institutional financial aid.

Also, beginning with the Fall 2018 semester, undocumented veterans may be eligible for institutional financial aid, and they must meet the following criteria:

– Honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces;

– Thirty years of age or younger on June 15, 2012;

– Fifteen years of age or younger when they arrived in the United States and have continuously resided in the United States since such arrival; and

– Have not been convicted of a felony in this state or another state.

“Our office has used social media to make students aware of the availability of aid for both the Spring 2020 and the 2020-2021 academic year,” said Steinmetz, adding, “Students are encouraged to complete the application as early as possible and our office is always ready and willing to assist these students with the application process. There are also other clubs and organizations on campus that educate and assist these students with the process of applying for aid. Students should contact our office with any questions regarding the applications process.”

The application for the 2020-2021 Institutional Aid is now available at http://www.ct.edu/admission/finaid#undocumented.

The Western Connecticut State University Office of Public Affairs and Community Relations is located at 181 White Street, Danbury, CT. For more information, please call (203) 837-9805.

More Opportunities

Many organizations do not have restrictions based on citizenship or legal status. The following represent additional resources to search for scholarship opportunities:

http://www.ct4adream.org/

http://dreamersroadmap.org/

https://unitedwedream.org/

https://www.fastweb.com

About Institutional Aid for Undocumented Students

On April 27, 2018, the Connecticut General Assembly, with the support of Governor Malloy, enacted a new state law that allows undocumented students to apply for institutional financial aid. These students must meet certain age, residency, and criminal history requirements, along with providing an affidavit to the institution they are attending about their intent to legalize their immigration status when they are eligible to do so.  This does not apply to non-immigrant visa holders.

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January 14, 2020

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