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Finding and getting into the right college can be a daunting task, but it can also lead to very rewarding opportunities for career and personal development. There are many national programs and state laws that allow undocumented students to attend the college of their choice. The following guide is intended to help these students navigate the many exciting options available to them in order to achieve their educational goals.

Beyond these legal realities, it is important to remember that many undocumented students are victims of circumstances beyond their control. Most of them were brought to the United States by their parents at a very young age. They have learned English, completed high school, and have integrated into communities considering themselves to be Americans.

Many students believe that their undocumented status will prevent them from attending college. These undocumented students may live in fear of exposure and deportation if they apply. This should not be a concern for prospective college students, as it is against the law for institutions of higher education to report a student’s immigration status without their permission.

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And to learn more about your rights as an undocumented and U.S. immigrant student, including state-specific restrictions and accommodations, see Undocumented Students: Know Your Rights.

Online college allows you to attend class remotely and earn a recognized degree from the comfort of your residence, cafeteria or local library. But as an undocumented student, finding the best online college can offer other advantages worth considering:

Undocumented students living in regions or municipalities where the risk of confrontation with law enforcement is higher can enjoy the security and anonymity of learning from home. Online college opens doors and avoids the risks associated with relocation or moving.

If you live in a state that has greater restrictions on applying to or accessing college, you can apply to an online college based in another state. The same is true if you live in an area, whether urban, rural, or on the border, with limited higher education options.

I can go to college without papers

*Includes tuition, admission to athletic events, calculated per-student fees, limited accident and health insurance, and student ID card. All costs are based on tuition and fees for degree programs; these are estimates and are subject to change.

Students who do not meet the TOEFL requirement may enroll in UL Lafayette’s Intensive English Program (IEP) and remain in that program until they have successfully met the English proficiency requirement for their chosen degree program.

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Family obligations present another challenge for Hispanic students. A 2014 survey by National Journal found that two-thirds of Hispanic women and men who sought full-time work or joined the military after completing high school expressed doing so to financially help their loved ones. In comparison, only 39% of white women and men who did not attend college said the same.

However, many schools classify undocumented students as «aliens,» which removes their ability to be eligible for federal financial aid and reduced in-state tuition rates.

Read our Guide for Undocumented Students in Higher Education to learn more about the various resources available to help this population pursue higher education.

Students in the U.S. must be classified as permanent residents before they can receive financial aid. Most immigrants obtain permanent residency by applying for a Green Card, but current laws stipulate that undocumented citizens cannot do that; instead, they must leave the U.S. and apply for permanent residency from the consulate of their home country.