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Prospective Graduate Students

Tips for filling out the graduate school application

Undocumented students, with or without DACA, are welcome to apply for admissions to UC San Diego. An immigration status is not needed for admission to UC San Diego or any of the other University of California campuses.  

When filling out your application, be sure to select your country of birth and "AP – Approved Petition" as your visa type.

Find undocumented student support at all 10 campuses.

Application Fee

The application fee for undocumented students is the same as US Citizens and Permanent Residents: $120.00

Application Fee Waiver

  1. Complete the online application. The option to request a fee waiver is provided on the "Fee Waiver Request" section of your application.

  2. Complete the "Request Fee Waiver" tab, upload documents, and submit. After reviewing the qualifications for a fee waiver, you may indicate which criteria you meet and upload the corresponding documents for review. Submit your application when you have completed it so that your fee waiver request may be reviewed.

  3. Check your email. You will receive an email notifying you of your fee waiver status (Approved, Denied, or Further Documentation Needed).

Note: all fee waiver requests must be submitted at least one week prior to the application deadline. Your application must be fully submitted for your fee waiver to be processed.

Social security number

  • If you have a Social Security Number (SSN) or SSN For Work Purposes— enter that on the application where the application asks for it.
  • If you do not have an SSN or SSN for work purposes but do have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), use the ITIN in place of an SSN.
  • If you do not have a valid SSN, SSN for work purposes, or ITIN, leave the question blank.
  • Make sure that the number you use on the application is the same as the SSN or ITIN you enter on your Cal Dream Act Application.

FAQs

Do I need to have work authorization to apply to a graduate program? 

No, you do not need to have work authorization to be considered for admission, but

you must keep in mind that financial aid is limited, and most graduate students

have to work to cover the costs of their program. Not having work authorization

may limit the options you have to cover the costs associated with your program.

Do I need to have Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status to apply to a graduate program? 

No, you do not need to be a DACA recipient to be considered for admission, but as mentioned before, not having work authorization will limit your options to cover the cost of your program.

Is financial aid for graduate programs available to undocumented students?

Yes. These are the most common options: 

    1. Dream Loans- up to $4,000 per year and up to $20,000 maximum. To receive the loans you must have AB540 status and submit a CA Dream Act Application.

    2. Funding from your program- most programs will offer fellowships, scholarships, grants, and employment opportunities. Contact the program coordinator to discuss their available options. It is important for you to be direct in your communication and ask if the available funding requires citizenship, AB540 status, or work authorization (whichever one fits your situation). This will help you understand your options and any stipulations that may need to be met. It is our experience that graduate programs will make offers of financial support assuming that students are citizens or residents.

    3. Funding from Undocumented Student Services- Our program may have funding or resources that can help you lower your cost of attendance. Some of our funding options may require you to have AB540 and a CA Dream Act application on file.

    4. Private scholarships and fellowships
      1. Immigrants Rising’s List of Graduate Scholarships contains scholarships for graduate studies that don’t require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency. 
      2. Immigrants Rising also has a list of Graduate Fellowships that contains fellowships that undocumented graduate and post-graduate students can apply for. 
      3. Affordable Colleges Online’s Scholarships and Financial Aid for Minority Students provides a list of funding specifically for underrepresented students.  Although this site is undergrad-focused, many of the opportunities are open to graduate students as well. 
  • Private Loans
    1. College Ave has student loans available for undocumented students, offering interest rates at 3.69% –12.07%. These loans are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as parents of undocumented students in the United States.
    2. Citizens Bank offers loans at 4.07% –12.19% interest rates, available to undergraduate and graduate students and their parents. However, Citizens Banks requires a cosigner with good credit who is either a US citizen or permanent resident.
    3. Sallie Mae offers 4.12% – 11.85% interest rates, with loans available for undergraduate and graduate students.
    4. PNC has loans available to undocumented students at rates of 5.03% – 12.29%, which can be dispersed to undergraduate and graduate students.
    5. LendKey offers interest rates of 4.63% – 9.71% to undergraduate and graduate students.
    6. Stilt is a lender geared towards undocumented and documented immigrants, providing loans to those without the credit or financial history to get them from larger lenders. Offering interest rates at 7.99%-15.99%, Stilt gives opportunities to applicants other lenders deem “high-risk” because they lack a Social Security Number or a green card, or are simply seeking loans as international students.

Note: Do not, we repeat, do not submit the FAFSA. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal student aid and therefore they should not submit a FAFSA application. 

Is financial aid available for non-AB540 undocumented students? 

Undocumented students who are not AB540 nor DACA are eligible to receive non-State funding in the form of departmental gifts, endowed funding and/or private funds without citizenship restrictions. These options are limited and require the student to work directly with their program and Undocumented Student Services to explore available options. 

What if I’m not eligible for any of the funding options mentioned? 

We recommend contacting our unit to talk with our program manager or program coordinator for other options and strategies you may consider. 

What type of employment options are available to undocumented students?

Students who have DACA, with or without AB 540 status, can obtain professional experience through different employment opportunities on campus. This includes becoming a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), Research Assistant (RA), Teaching Assistant (TA), or a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI).

Considering multiple programs in different U.S. states? There’s a guide for that. 

We love for you to consider UC San Diego for your graduate and professional program but understand that many factors will come into play when choosing the program you will apply to. The New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC) developed the Undocu-friendly guide to pursuing, financing, and navigating graduate school to help students navigate their options. We highly recommend using this guide!

What exams do I need to take for graduate or professional schools?

Before applying to graduate school, students may need to take an entrance exam depending on the schools they are applying to. When applying to these exams students have to produce a form of identification to register, below is a list of different entrance exams the student may need to take.

GRE

Depending on the graduate school, some may require students to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE).

See list of approved documentation for the GRE

If you do not meet the identification requirements, “you must contact the ETS Office of Testing Integrity (OTI) at least seven days before registering to test. Afterward, you will receive an approval notification from them and/or they may request further documentation from the student. Once you have been approved, you will be eligible to register and take the GRE (Identification Requirements for the GRE® General Test).  

Email: TSReturns@ets.org

Phone: 1-800-750-6991

Register for the GRE 

GMAT

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is required or applicable for business school, such as a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). 

See list of approved documentation for the GMAT

If the applicant does not have proper documentation, they must call or email the GMAT, to request for the requirement to be waived due to the applicant’s undocumented status.

Email: GMATCandidateServicesAmericas@pearson.com

Phone: 1-800-717-4628 

Register for the GMAT  

LSAT

The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is required for applicants that are applying to law school in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. 

See list of approved documentation for the LSAT

If the student is not able to obtain a valid identification card, then they must contact LSAC before the registration deadline.

Email: LSACinfo@LSAC.org

Phone: 215- 968-1001 then press 0 to speak to an LSAC candidate representative. 

Register for the LSAT

MCAT

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is required for Medical school. Applicants must provide a valid social security number (SSN) to obtain an MCAT ID number, applicants can also use their DACA SSN. 

See list of proper identification for the MCAT

If the applicant does not have a social security number they must contact the American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to issue them an alternative ID number (Valid Identification for MCAT Examinees.).

MCAT phone: 202-828-0600

AAMC phone: 202-828-0400
Register for the MCAT 

DAT

The Dental Admissions Test (DAT) is required to attend dental school. DAT requires applicants to have two forms of identification. One with the applicant’s picture and full name and the second one with the applicant’s signature.

If the applicant has more questions regarding valid identification contact the Department of Testing Centers. 

Phone: 800-232-2162
Register for the DAT