Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that was established in 2012. The policy allows individuals who were brought to the United States as children to be protected under a renewable deferred action plan from deportation. DACA students can become eligible to work in the United States but unfortunately aren’t eligible for federal student aid. Although some state or college aid may be available to assist DACA students, the cost of college can still be a burden for families. However, DACA students can be eligible for private scholarships from companies, organizations, and foundations, which can significantly reduce the cost of pursuing higher education. When searching for scholarships as a DACA student, use search terms or phrases such as:
- DACA scholarship
- International scholarship
- Worldwide scholarship
To get you started, here’s a list of 10 scholarships that are open to DACA students.
1. Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is open to high school seniors as well as community college, undergraduate, and graduate students of Hispanic heritage, and DACA students are eligible. High school students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and college students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. All majors and career fields being pursued are accepted; however, they do promote an emphasis on STEM majors. The deadline to submit your application is February 15, and awards are up to $5,000.
2. Becca’s Closet Scholarships
The organization Becca’s Closet offers need-based community service scholarships for high school seniors. US citizens, legal residents, and DACA students are eligible to win these awards, of which there are three for students to apply to. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 The award amount varies, and the deadline is May 8.
3. Elena Bathrick Scholarship
This scholarship from the Marie Maxey Foundation is open to Hispanic and Latin American students who have been accepted or are currently attending a two-year or four-year college in the United States. The award is $500, which may not seem like a lot in comparison to other awards, but every little bit helps! The deadline for applications is December 15.
4. Dulce Deinken Scholarship
Also offered from the Marie Maxey Foundation, this scholarship follows the same parameters as its sister-scholarship, accepting applications from Hispanic and Latin American students who will be or are already attending a two-year or four-year college. To apply, students must write an essay on the most important Hispanic women in their life. The award is also $500, but the deadline for this one is December 31.
5. Golden Door Scholarship
The Golden Door Scholarship is for DACA undocumented students who are high school seniors and current undergraduates. Applicants must have a high GPA and have demonstrated both leadership skills and community service commitment. The award is up to $40,000, and the deadline is October 23.
6. Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards
Multiple Hispanic Heritage Youth Award scholarships are open to high school seniors of Hispanic heritage—including Spain, Brazil, and the Philippines—who are US citizens or DACA eligible. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Awards up to $15,000 are awarded in the categories of business and finance, education, engineering, entrepreneurship, health care and science, media and entertainment, social justice, and technology. The deadline to apply is December 6.
7. The Entertainment Technology Scholarship
The Entertainment Technology Scholarship is open to all college students enrolled full-time at a US college or university, including online university applicants. There’s no GPA minimum, and all career majors are encouraged to apply. This scholarship is open to students worldwide, including undocumented students. The award is $1,000, and the deadline for students to apply is September 1.
8. We Mount TVs Scholarship
Open to all students enrolled full-time at a US college or university, the Supporting Local Business Scholarship from We Mount TVs is open to domestic, international, and undocumented applicants. This scholarship aims to bring attention to supporting local business in your community. There’s no minimum GPA, and all majors are welcome to apply. The award is $1,000 with a deadline of September 5.
9. Democrats for Life of America
The Democrats for Life of America Essay Contest is open to US citizens and DACA-eligible students heading to or already in college, age range 17–26. For the 2020 award, students had to write an essay in response to a question a citizen once posed to former mayor Pete Buttigieg regarding pro-life vs. pro-choice. The award is up to $2,500, and the deadline is June 7.
10. Opportunity Scholarship
TheDream.US offers this scholarship opportunity to DACA-eligible students from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin with a minimum GPA of 2.8. The award is up to $80,000, and the deadline is January 30. This scholarship is only open to students planning to attend a college or university within the Opportunity Scholarship network.
Hopefully, this list will help DACA students get closer to their college dreams financially. Being excluded from typical financial aid opportunities can be frustrating—but that doesn’t mean there are no opportunities out there for you. Keep searching for more scholarships that DACA students are eligible for. Trust us—your hard work will pay off.
Need an extra hand in continuing your scholarship search? Look no further than our Scholarship Search tool!