Part I: Paying for Tests and Applications and Preparing Strong Applications

Get Me To College



The Complete Guide for Paying for College if You’re Not Documented!!! Part I: Paying for Tests and Applications and Preparing Strong Applications
getmetocollege_rond-01We know that many of you are undocumented. We know that people call you AB540 students. We believe as do millions of people in this country that you have the right to go to college.Carlos Gomez, Class of 2013, Santa Clara University “As undocumented students, our path to higher education is not an easy one, BUT it is not unobtainable. It just has extra curves and obstacles that one must overcome.”

1.  You can afford to go. Here are some basic facts to help guide you.

  • If you have attended a high school in California for three
    years, you qualify for in state tuition at the UCs and CSUs. Check your instate tuition rules in your state.
  • If you are under 28, you may qualify for the CA DREAM ACT or the dream act in your state. Check and make sure. Apply now, and you can qualify for state aid.
  • You do not qualify for any kind of federal aid, including federal financial aid, grants, or loans.
  • Private colleges often have full scholarships for talented undocumented students. They do not publicize these loans, but we have a list of some colleges that are friends to you.
  • More and more public non-profits are providing scholarships for
    you to go to public colleges as well.
  • You must apply for federal Deferred Action so you can qualify to work. Universities in many states can now hire you for their state-funded jobs.
  • Become a supporter of the Dream Act.

2.  How do I get started?

  1. Apply for Federal Deferred Action.
  2. Apply for financial aid in your state, if it accepts Dream Act students
  3. You need to be organized and focused. Let us help you. You are NOT
  4. Applying to college is expensive. We will first discuss how to afford the different costs.
  5. Many colleges, like Jesuit and Ivy League colleges, provide full scholarships to qualified undocumented students.d
  6. Then we will describe how to find out about, apply for, and receive scholarships.
  7. For most of this information, you need to work with your school counselor. Your counselor should have many pieces of information for you, especially about getting fee waivers.

3. How do I pay for tests such as the SAT or ACT?

  • If you qualify for free or reduced lunch, you qualify for an SAT and ACT fee waiver!  You can take the SAT and ACT twice with fee waivers. You can take three one hour SAT Subject Tests per day and you can do that twice.
  • No Social Security is required for these fee waivers.
  • SCHOOL COUNSELORS give you the waivers. Do not contact the SAT or ACT for them.
  • Ask your counselor now about these fee waivers as soon as possible so that you manage to take these exams on time. Fee waivers do not cover late fees.

4. How do I pay to send my scores to colleges?

5. How do I pay for AP tests?

  1. Unfortunately, there are no free fee waivers for AP tests.
  2. You can get a $22 to $30 fee reduction. For information, go to
  3. Don’t pay to send test scores to colleges. Ask your counselor to fax your scores to them.

6. How do I pay for the different college applications?

  • If your parents make less than $60,000 a year, you are most likely to get your college application fee waived.
  • You will get to apply to four University of California campuses and four CSU campuses for free.
  • You will also get to apply to at least four colleges on The Common Application for free.
  • You can also get four fee waivers from NACAC (The National Association of College Admissions Counselors). You must fill out this form and get it signed by your counselor.
  • If you want more fee waivers for applications, as application fees are expensive, please contact the admissions office of a college and ask. Your counselor can also call for you.
  • Again, no social security numbers are required for fee waivers.

7.    What do I fill in on college applications about my status?

  • At the beginning of college applications you will be asked to input a social security number, leave that question blank or click on the option that says, “I do not have one.”
  • If you have received your Deferred Action, you can put in our new ID number.
  • There is another way to let colleges know about your status. At the end of the UC and Common Application, there is an additional option for additional information. Use this space to let colleges know of your undocumented status and your tremendous commitment to education and to pursuing your educational dreams through college.

8.    Can I write about my status in my essays?

  • Definitely! This is another way to let colleges know about your situation.
  • Try not to make this a pity story, but think of it as a story that you can use to show colleges how you have overcome this challenge.
  • Talk about your obstacles as an undocumented student and what you have done overcome this.
  • Remember, your goal is to make yourself stand out, so think of what makes YOU UNIQUE!

9.    Can I mention my status in interviews?

  • It depends! Do not be afraid. You will be surprised that there are hundreds of people out there that are willing to help students like you. Yet check the support within your state and within particular universities.
  • Meeting with admissions counselors and letting them know your situation may lead you to helpful information.
  • Some admissions counselors may have connections with other colleges that provide aid to undocumented students.
  • Do not be afraid to ask them what other colleges provide help and what characteristics do their colleges look for in an average student (Networking is key when you are looking for scholarships, so always keep their contact information).

10. Should I keep my situation as secret at school?

  1. We know you’re in a challenging situation.
  2. The federal government now supports you.
  3. Many states now support you.
  4. The sooner you tell a trusted counselor, principal, and/or teachers, the more they can help you throughout this process.
  5. Some of us may not want to share this with people, but at least share it with somebody that you know will be discreet and will help you with the process. This is crucial because networking may lead you to other resources and new contacts.
  6. It is also important because college applications and scholarships require recommendations and often times the better the recommender knows you, the better the letter will be.