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Step 3: Seek Other Resources

UC Application fee waiver 

You read that right! The UC system will waive application fees for up to four campuses for undocumented students who are AB 540-eligible and meet the income guidelines. 

You may apply for a fee waiver and be notified immediately if you have qualified. You’ll get the option to apply for a fee waiver based on how you answer these questions: 

  • Citizenship status: If you choose “No selection” (see the tips for filling out this section below) 
  • California residency: If you attended a California high school for three or more years and will graduate or have graduated from a California high school 
  • Your family's income and the number of people supported by that income 

Fee waivers can’t be applied to more than four campuses, regardless of their source (for instance, you wouldn’t be able to use a College Board/SAT fee waiver and a UC fee waiver to apply to more than four UC campuses). If you qualify for a fee waiver and select more than four campuses, you’ll need to pay $70 for each additional choice. 

Financial Aid Budget add-ons (undergraduate students only)

Outside scholarships

Immigrants Rising has compiled a comprehensive list of undergraduate scholarships and fellowships and graduate scholarships and fellowships. Some scholarships and some fellowships may require you to be a DACA recipient, so be sure to look through the eligibility requirements before you apply. 

Affordable Colleges Online’s Scholarships and Financial Aid for Minority Students also provides a list of funding specifically for underrepresented students. 

CA Dream Act incentive program (undergraduate students only)

Find a job on campus

Private Loans

Students may consider obtaining loans from private financial institutions to cover their graduate school expenses. In some cases, undocumented students will need to obtain a co-signed to secure a loan.

Graduate Students

Application Fee Waiver for UC San Diego

  1. Complete the online application. The option to request a fee waiver is provided in 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.

Aid options for graduate and professional degrees

  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. See our Admitted Graduate Students page for more on this.
  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. Employment and Research - If you are a DACA recipient or have work authorization, you may have an opportunity to work as a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) or Research Assistant (RA), Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) through your program. This is a good way to gain professional experience while earning money for school and living expenses. Employment and research opportunities also vary by department and program. Note: If you’re eligible for DACA, but not for AB 540, you can still be employed by UC. Without work authorization, undocumented students are not able to participate in the paid opportunities mentioned above. Speak with Undocumented Student Services about Inclusive Fellowships as an alternative.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Private Loans - Students may consider obtaining loans from private financial institutions to cover their graduate school expenses. In some cases, undocumented students will need to obtain a co-signed to secure a loan.

Out-of-state Students