Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students

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Can DACA Students Get Scholarships?

If you are a DACA grad student, there may be scholarships available to qualifying applicants. Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students may not have citizenship requirements. They may be open to Undocumented, or Eligible Non-Citizens (as defined by FAFSA).

Scholarships for DACA grad students vary in dollar amounts. Some may offset the cost of tuition and fees. While others may cover expenses like food, insurance, books and travel.

Unlike a loan, you typically do not pay the money back if you follow the terms. If the amount is high enough, it may help you meet the costs of earning a master’s degree or PhD.

To be able to apply for a scholarship as a DACA grad student, you need to meet the criteria. These vary from each college and grad schools as well as from each state and local source.

9 Common Criteria for Scholarships that DACA Graduate Students May Need

As a DACA student, your status may not be the only thing you need to show. When you apply for a scholarship, you may need some (or all) of the these to qualify. 

  • Grades – GPA range
  • Leadership skills
  • Volunteer service 
  • Goal to pursue a master’s degree or PhD in a certain field 
  • Membership in an association
  • Strong writing skills 
  • Work history related to your major 
  • Being a resident of a certain state 
  • Financial need  

3 Types of Scholarships for DACA Graduate Students

There are three main kinds of grad scholarships for DACA students. Need based, merit based and contest scholarships. 

Need based scholarships assess financial need. They may still look at a student from all sides. But preferred students will show a desire to go to grad school but also a lack of money.  

Merit scholarships may place more weight on your academic achievement or talent. They may also look at your volunteer service background.  

Contests are another way for DACA students to fund grad school. These often ask you to sign up by making an account. You might enter a few at once to improve your odds. 

One example is ScholarshipPoints. Applicants complete a student profile which asks for name, email, birthday and grade level. This is all you have to do to enter for the $10,000 prize.  

Winning a scholarship contest may help with costs related to getting your grad degree. But, they may not be enough to pay the entire tuition bill.  

As an example, the Get Schooled No Essay Scholarship is a $1,000 award. 

If this is the case, you may need to also get a small loan. Luckily, as a DACA grad student there are borrowers to turn to. MPower Financing is one such option. 

Why Consider Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students? 

About 690,000 people have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. The average age of “Dreamers” enrolled in DACA is 24 year. About a quarter (24%) are ages 26 to 30, while one in ten (11%) are ages 31 to 36.  

Almost half (45%) of current DACA recipients live in two states: California (29%) and Texas (16%). Illinois (5%), New York (5%), Florida (4%) and Arizona (4%) also have pretty big DACA populations. 

Without scholarships, DACA students may have a hard time being able to pay for grad school. These students do not qualify for federal aid or loans. But scholarships may be easier to find in some states than others. 

There are at least 19 states where DACA students may receive in state tuition. Of these, only some states offer state grants to these students. Those states are California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington 

Other states make these students pay the same tuition as an international student. These are Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. Dreamers in these locations cannot access in state tuition. 

11 Scholarships for DACA Graduate Students for 2020

Are you a DACA student who wants to go to grad school? You may be eligible for state or school financial aid and private scholarships. To get started, check out these 11 scholarships for DACA grad students for 2020.

I Have a Dream Scholarship

The I Have a Dream Scholarship (Unigo) provides an award of $1,500.

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: January 31, 2021
Requirements: Applicants need to be 13 years or older, legal residents of the 50 states or DC.  To qualify, you must be enrolled in an accredited post secondary school. Then, write a 250 word essay answering the question: “What do you dream about?” 

SOS Migrant Student Scholarships

In 2019, Students of Salaam (SOS) began hosting a nation wide scholarship prize for 1 student attending a not for profit 2 or 4 year accredited post secondary school.

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: May 27, 2020
Requirements: Any student who has immigrated to the United States is eligible to apply. Students must either be enrolled in or currently attending an accredited post secondary school. Those who have already received a Bachelor’s degree or more are not eligible to apply. Students must be enrolled in the post secondary school for the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 academic year. Decisions are sent out mid June. 

National Association of Hispanic Journalist Scholarships

The NAHJ supports the professional growth of Hispanics in the news industry. NAHJ scholarship opportunities range from $1,500 to $10,000. They are open to both undergrad and grad students.  

Amount: $1,500 – $10,000
Deadline: February 22
Requirements: To be eligible, one must be going to school in the United States and Puerto Rico. Preferred applicants also have at least a 3.0 GPA. Preferred career paths are English or Spanish language print, broadcast, digital or photo journalism. 

Ruben Salazar Scholarship Fund – $2,000 

Set up in 1986, The NAHJ Rubén Salazar Scholarship Fund aims to assist young Latino journalists. Mexican American journalist Rubén Salazar was a columnist for the LA Times. He was also the news director for the Spanish language TV station KMEX.  

Facebook Journalism Project NAHJ Scholarship - $10,000 

This scholarship is an effort to support the future generation of journalists. Preferred applicants are pursuing a career in journalism. They must also show a passion for digital storytelling. 

Maria Elina Salinas Scholarship – $2,500 

Students applying for this scholarship must submit their essay in Spanish. Preferred applicants must show a strong intent to become a Spanish language journalist. 

eQuality Nursing Scholarships

Each year, eQuality Scholarship Collaborative awards scholarships. In 2020, they expect to award 1 to 2 scholarships of $6,000 each. The awards honor and encourage CA students for their service to the LGBTQ community. 

Amount: $6,000
Deadline: January 31
Requirements: Applicants must be a resident of northern or central CA. But may study in other places (there’s a list of approved sites). They must also be enrolled by the interview date and in good standing. Master’s programs with a BA/BS in a field other than nursing are eligible. RN re entry and RN to BSN or MSN programs are not eligible. 

Simplr AI and Technology Scholarship

Simplr is a Silicon Valley start up involved in machine learning and AI. They offer a $7,500 scholarship award as a way to give back to the community.  

Amount: $7,500
Deadline: December 31
Requirements: Applicants can be pursuing an undergrad or grad degree in an accepted major. Computer Science (CS), Math, IT. Or is attending or will attend law school. Criteria include merit and financial need. Applicants must submit a winning essay showing their passion for one of a few topics. AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), Block chain tech and Intellectual Property (IP) law.    

MPower Global Citizen Scholarship

The MPOWER Global Citizen Scholarships are available through MPower Financing. These scholarships support DACA and international students at partner schools.  

For the next cycle, they plan to offer one $5,000 grand prize scholarship and four $3,000 scholarships.

Amount: $3,000 – $5,000
Deadline: November 15
Requirements: You do not need to be a borrower to apply. The form asks prompted questions about goals and education history and includes a longer essay. 

MPower Women in STEM Scholarship

The Women in STEM Scholarship is available through MPower Financing. It focuses on women who will use their STEM degree to benefit society and the planet. Preferred candidates also have the potential to serve as role models for women in STEM. MPower plans to award one $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 one, and one $2,000 one.

Amount: $2,000 – $3,000
Deadline: April 15, 2020
Requirements: Awards go to female international/DACA students. Applicants must be full time students in a STEM degree program. They must be studying at program MPower supports in the U.S. or Canada.  

Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship is available from Golden Door Scholars, a non profit. Their mission is to help DACA students gain upward movement through education. To date they have awarded over $100,000 to over 50 students. Amounts of each award are not available yet. 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: Applications will reopen this fall and the 2020 deadline will be announced
Requirements: Applicants must be Illinois residents and attending an in state school. Preferred students have strong leadership involvement and at least a 2.5 GPA. They must also show that they cannot get federal aid.  

PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund

The PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund is available through the Chavez Foundation. It honors the legacy of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. To the year 2021 there are 10 annual scholarships of $5,000 per student. 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: TBA
Requirements: Applicants must be students of Latino descent. They must be pursuing a degree in Arizona and California. Other criteria include academic excellence, at least a 3.0 GPA, leadership, volunteer experience and financial need. 

Davis Putter Scholarship

The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund aids those who work to advance social and economic justice. The largest grant is $15,000 per year.  

A complete application includes a 1000 word essay that details progressive social activity. You must also provide two letters of recommendation, transcripts and show financial need.  

Amount: up to $15,000
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Requirements: Preferred applicants to these need based scholarships are student activists. Recent awards went to students active in efforts against racism, sexism, and homophobia. To apply, you need to be a current grad student or enrolled in a trade or technical program.  

American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation Scholarships

Each year, AHLEF offers nine scholarship programs. These award scholarships valued up to $7,500. The awards go to students enrolled in hospitality related bachelor or graduate degree programs. Their next budget includes $1.3 million in scholarships spread to over 100 recipients.

Amount: Varies
Deadline: January 15
Requirements: Preferred applicants have strong grades, financial need, and relevant work history.  

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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