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Every student deserves a chance at higher education. However, that opportunity can be difficult for undocumented students. They have to contend with the emotional burden of going through school while undocumented and aren't always provided access to the resources necessary to help them.
Although there are more than 408,000 undocumented students in the United States, none can receive financial assistance from the federal government. However, these students can still look to non-federal funding to further their education and earn an MBA.
Having to search through scholarship after scholarship to find ones that don't require citizenship only adds to the burdens you have to face while planning for your MBA program. The following scholarships all apply to MBA programs, do not have specific immigration status requirements, and undocumented students may apply.
Scholarships for Undocumented MBA Students
- Amount: Up to $90,000 over two years
- Deadline: October 26, 2023
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans support up to two years of graduate study in any field at any advanced degree-granting program in the United States.
Intended for U.S. immigrants and children of immigrants, this program accepts applications from U.S. citizens, green card holders, naturalized citizens, DACA recipients, and those who graduated from high school or college in the United States. Students with previous DACA status and learners awaiting a DACA decision may also apply, along with refugees and individuals granted asylum. Candidates must be under the age of 31 and full-time graduate students at a U.S. institution.
- Amount: Up to $15,000 per year
- Deadline: April 1, 2024
This need-based award supports students active in social and economic justice movements. U.S. citizenship is not required, but the award favors applicants who plan to stay in the U.S. Recent scholarship recipients have been involved in combating racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression.
Applicants must provide previous or current transcripts, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and financial information.
- Amount: Varies based on need
- Deadline: December 21, 2023
This award is for graduate students who are "out" members of the LGBTQ+ community, including undocumented students. Applicants must enroll at an accredited college or university based in the United States.
The scholarship funding period lasts four years, and students must be full time (and stay enrolled full time) to be eligible for renewal. Finalists for this award must be able to record a video of themselves to send to the scholarship committee. Finally, awardees must be able to attend the Point National Leadership Conference located in Los Angeles during the summer.
Alongside the award, scholarship recipients have access to leadership training, mentorship, and coaching opportunities.
- Amount: $5,000
- Deadline: 2024 applications to be announced
The CLLCF scholarship helps California students, "irrespective of immigration status," that need financial assistance for their education. Scholarship applicants must be students in good standing with a GPA no lower than 2.5. Students must also be full time to be eligible.
The application may include an official or unofficial transcript and requires an acceptance letter to an accredited college or university in the United States. Applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation with their application. Winners are also eligible to win the award again.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: December 31, 2023 and August 31, 2024
Dedicated to providing students with coaching opportunities for personal and professional growth, the Achieve Today Scholarship Fund is available to students attending accredited colleges and universities in the United States. There are many accredited academic institutions that do not insist on proof of citizenship or residency in their admission policies. If you're attending one of these schools, you may apply to this scholarship, as its only criteria are enrollment in such a school and being over the age of 18.
Applicants must submit a video or a short essay to apply. The video or essay must be based on key personal development principles and convey a motivating or inspirational personal message. There is no specific GPA requirement, but students must be older than 18 to apply.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: July 31
Meant to foster "acts of service," the Spirit of Giving Scholarship is available for students at any post-secondary education level to apply. Applicants must provide proof of enrollment (or future enrollment) to the scholarship committee along with a short essay that encompasses the "spirit of giving."
Students must be attending "four-year universities, community colleges, institutes of technology, and accredited credential or certificate programs" in the United States. If you're attending one of these programs, you may apply for this scholarship, as it only requires proof of enrollment and not being a previous winner or an employee or family member of the sponsoring companies.
Additional Resources for Financial Assistance
Financial Considerations for Undocumented Students
Undocumented students in the United States do not have access to federal aid, so they often make financial concessions by short changing their education. Not only must undocumented students bear the emotional burdens that come with being undocumented, but they must also fully fund their degree outside of federal student aid. As a result, only 5-10% of undocumented students continue on to higher education, of which an even lower percentage pursue graduate school.
Therefore, until the federal government changes its policies, it is imperative that scholarships and non-federal aid are made available to them. You can further your MBA education with access to funding sources, giving you a chance at a brighter future. As more funding opportunities become available, more undocumented students will be able to receive a post-secondary education.
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