College Access for Undocumented Students
A college degree is highly desirable for many reasons, including better career opportunities, and the City of Chicago is committed to helping undocumented students achieve a college degree. CPS counselors and career coaches are being trained to support undocumented student success, with over 400 participants already trained to date. CPS’ Choose Your Future website provides tools and information for undocumented students who wish to attend college. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights offers an Undocumented Student’s Guide to College
Many Chicago area schools offer contacts and resources specifically for undocumented students. The Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling provides school specific information for undocumented students.
Chicago Star Scholarship
In 2014, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Chancellor Cheryl Hyman announced the Chicago Star Scholarship that will help ensure more Chicago Public High School students are able to pursue the dream of college without accumulating burdensome debt. Through Chicago STAR Scholarship, City Colleges of Chicago will provide scholarships in the form of tuition, fee and book waivers to qualifying high school graduates, ensuring they can earn their associate degree at City Colleges of Chicago with no out of pocket costs.
To be eligible, students must graduate from a CPS high school with a 3.0 GPA or higher and must either (A) earn a score of 17 or higher on the English and math ACT, (B) earn a score of 460 or higher on the English SAT and 440 or higher on the math SAT, or (C) test “Completion Ready” through the CCC placement exam. The best score from any of these components (ACT, SAT, or CCC placement exam) will be used to qualify the student. Undocumented immigrants ARE eligible for this program if they meet the other requirements. Click here for more information on the Star Scholarship, or to apply.
Illinois Dream Fund
The Illinois Dream Fund is a college scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants, who are ineligible to apply for federal financial aid. High school seniors intending to enroll and current undergraduates enrolled at accredited two- or four- year colleges may apply for the Illinois Dream Fund scholarships. Applicants must have attended school in Illinois for at least three years before graduating or receiving a GED, must have at least one parent who immigrated to the United States, and must have lived with a parent or guardian while going to school in Illinois. Click here for more information on the Illinois Dream Fund, or to apply.
CPS Dream Fund
The CPS Dream Fund Scholarship is a talent and need-based, last-dollar scholarship to assist academically talented undocumented CPS students in their quest to pursue a post-secondary education. Students must be recommended by a principal, counselor or college and career coach, and must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum ACT score of 17. Click here to learn more about the CPS Dream Fund.
Other Scholarship Opportunities and Information for Undocumented Immigrants
- Choose Your Future Scholarship Guide
- Chicano Organizing & Research in Education–Que Llueva Café Scholarship
- Illinois Latino Council of Higher Education (ILACHE)
- Immigrant Youth Financial Resource Guide
- Latino College Dollars: Scholarships for Latino Students
- LINC Telacu
- Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
- Migrant Scholarships
- Scholarships Open to Students Regardless of Immigration Status
- The Dream US Scholarship
Resources for Counselors to Undocumented Youth
- U.S. Department of Education Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth
- ICIRR: A Counselor’s Guide to Resources for Undocumented Students
Volunteer, Internship and Job Opportunities
In April 2014, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City, for the first time, was opening up nearly 23,000 City-funded internship, volunteer, and job opportunities for undocumented students, or “Dreamers.”