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YLC Education Manual

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YLC Education Manual

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									The Road to College
 A College Guide for New York Immigrant Students

brought to you by:
the New York State
Youth Leadership Council
                     Table of Contents

Why Go to College?          _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ 1

Graduating High School         _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ 4

Road to College       _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ 7

     Action Plan      _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ 7

     Thinking About College: Where Do I Start? _             _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ 9

     Testing  _    _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   11

Applying to College  _      _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   12

     College Application Requirements            _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   13

     Final Choice        _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   15

Higher Education & Immigrant Students Without Status               _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   16

Paying for College       _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   19

What Now? Pass the DREAM Act               _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   27

Give Back & Get Active!        _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   28

Resources  _    _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _   29
                             Why Go to College?

Many years ago, a high school diploma            •   Low engagement of parents
was enough to get a secure, living-wage          •   Regents and other requirements are
job—a job that paid well and provided                a challenge for recent immigrant
enough to take care of yourself and your             students who have not had the same
family. Now, changes in our economy                  foundation and preparation as their
have made college and even advanced                  peers.
degrees one of the only vehicles for a
successful future in the U.S.                    •   Some students are “Students with
                                                     Interrupted Formal Education,” in other
Despite this fact, according to the 2007             words, students who did not go to
American Community Survey, only 27.5                 school regularly or at all in their home
percent of the population 25 years and               countries.
older have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
                                                 If you are an undocumented student,
In NYC, just over 50% of recent                  remember that although undocumented
immigrant students drop out of high              students do not have access to state and
school before graduation.                        federal financial aid, you have the right
Students drop out for some of the                to attend a college or university in New
following reasons:                               York.

•       Language barriers                        But aren’t I just wasting valuable
•       Standard testing and assessment          time studying when I could be out
                                                 working and making money?
•       Poverty, the need to drop out and
        work to support themselves and their     Take a look at this: The average college
        families                                 graduate with a Bachelor’s degree will
                                                 earn over $35,000 more per year than
•       Loss of hope due to immigration status
                                                 someone who dropped out of high
•       Attend schools that are                  school.
        underperforming and have few
                                                 That’s over $1.5 million over a lifetime in
                                                 additional earnings. This difference gets
•       Often denied basic educational           even larger with masters and professional
        services                                 degrees.

                                                          Why Go to College?

As you can see, making sacrifices now has a big pay off for your future.

     Why Go to College?

Why should I go to college and get           Remember that across the world, there
a degree if I don’t have papers?             is a global need for college educated
                                             individuals who speak more than one
Even if you are undocumented,                language—especially if one of them is
having a college degree can open up          English. But be careful not to lose sight of
opportunities for getting a good job with    the ultimate goal of education, which is to
decent pay and working conditions—           reach your highest potential and be able
even if you are not able to work in the      to better contribute to society.
field that you studied in college. Getting
a college education would enhance your       Your immigration status is only another
knowledge and skills and empower you         obstacle that you will be better able to
to assert your rights.                       overcome with a college education. As
                                             Nelson Mandela, a South African civil
What will I do with a college                rights leader said:
degree without papers?
If you are still undocumented upon                             NOTE
college graduation, you can explore
                                                “Education is the most powerful
opportunities to continue your education
                                                weapon which you can use to
and pursue an advanced degree. Some             change the world.”
of our students have been able to enroll
in advanced degree programs after
finishing 4 years of college, while they
wait for their immigration case to be
considered or until congress changes
immigration laws.

                     Graduating High School

The first step toward going to college     Regents Diploma with Honors
is getting a high school diploma. To
graduate in New York State, students       The “with honors” designation is added
need to meet the following requirements:   to either Regents Diploma option for
                                           students with an average score of 90
1 Pass Regents Exams in required           or more on all required Regents exams.
  subjects                                 Honors or Advanced Regents diplomas
2 Pass Required Classes to Accumulate      are not required to get into college,
  44 Credits                               but they will help you get into more
                                           competitive programs.
For high school graduation, New York
State grants 3 levels of diploma:          Regents Diploma with Technical
Local Diploma: Passing score of 55-64      Endorsement
on required Regents Exams                  Students enrolled in a Career and
Regents Diploma: Passing score of 65       Technical Education program earn this
and above on required Regents Exams        endorsement if they also complete an
                                           approved technical assessment, a work-
Regents Diploma with Advanced
                                           based learning experience, and a work-
Designation: Passing score of 65 and
                                           skills employability profile.
above on required Regents Exams PLUS
Math B Exam, an additional Regents         Immigrant Students and
Science Exam, and a Regents Foreign        Regents Exams
Language Exam
                                           For immigrant students still learning
Adapted from NYS Higher Education
                                           English, most Regents exams are
Services Corporation
                                           available in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian
                                           Creole, Korean and Russian (except
                                           the English Regents). Oral translation
         Regents Exams                     is provided to students who speak a
                                           language other than these five. (Keep
The following Regents exams are required   in mind that it might not be necessarily
for all levels of diploma:                 easier to answer in your own language).
•   English Language Arts
•   Math A
•   Global History
•   US History
•   Science
 Graduating High School

                                             Local or Regents Diploma
                                                 Foreign Language:             2 credits
                                                 Physical Education:           4 credits
     Beginning 2010, most New                    (a semester is valued at _ credit)
     York City students in public high
     schools will have to get a Regents      Regents Diploma with
     diploma in order to graduate.           Advanced Designation
     Local diplomas will no longer be
     an option.                                  Electives:                    2 credits
                                                 (Additional arts or foreign
Pass Required Classes to
                                                 Physical Education:           4 credits
Accumulate 44 Credits
                                                 (a semester is valued at _ credit)
Each time you complete and pass
a course for one semester, you are           But my school is telling me that I
awarded one credit (one semester = half      could drop out and get a GED!
a year). You are eligible for graduation     First, an important fact: students have the
when you have received 44 credits.           right to attend public school in New York
High school students must get 31 credits     City until the age of 21. Prior to this age,
in core courses and 13 additional courses.   no one has the right to instruct you to
                                             leave school.
Core Courses
                                             Getting a GED, General Education
     English:                  8   credits   Development test, must be a personal
     Social Studies:           8   credits   choice that you make, hopefully after
     Math:                     6   credits   consulting with your parents, family,
     Science:                  6   credits   guidance counselor and or teacher.
     Health:                   1   credit
                                             In making this decision, it is important to
     Arts:                     2   credits
                                             know the difference between a GED and
Additional Courses                           a high school diploma.

Additional courses credits vary depending
on the level of diploma. The additional
courses include: Foreign Language,
Physical Education, and Electives.

                                                                  Graduating High School

                                                Who is eligible to take the GED?
                                                Any NYS resident, 16 years of age or
   You have the right to attend                 older is eligible to take the GED.
   school in NYC until the age of 21,
   regardless of immigration status,            For more information about eligibility
   credits earned or any other factor.          requirements, please visit the General
   If you are told to leave school              Educational Development Testing Office
   before the age of 21, please                 Website. You can find the website on our
   call Advocates for Children’s FREE           resource section.
   Education Helpline at 866-427-6033.
                                                What if I didn’t attend high school
                                                in the U.S?
What is the GED?
                                                If that is your case, don’t worry, you can
GED stands for General Educational
                                                still take the GED as long as you are able
Development. It is a kind of a diploma
                                                to fulfill the other eligibility requirements.
for students who did not complete high
                                                Make sure that you visit the General
school. You obtain a GED by taking
                                                Educational Development Testing Office
a test.
                                                Website for detailed information.
What’s the difference between a
                                                In which languages is the
high school diploma and a GED?
                                                test offered?
A GED is an equivalent to a high school
                                                The test is available in English, Spanish
diploma, but it is not the same. Having
                                                and French.
a high school diploma opens up many
more options for higher education. Some         How is the test structured?
schools do not accept first-year students
who do not have a high school diploma.          The test is broken down into five parts:
However, that doesn’t mean that the             Writing, Reading, Social Studies,
GED option should be completely off             Science and Math. If you don’t pass all
the table for all students. Talk it over with   five sections, you must take the test again.
your parents, teachers and guidance             For more information about the GED,
counselors to see if it’s the best choice       check our resources section on page 31.
for you.

                                Road to College

                                                     Do volunteer work. Colleges like
              Action Plan                            that you have made a meaningful
                                                     contribution to something that
                                                     interests you.
Freshman Year (9th Grade)
                                                     Update your personal file with
     Earn good grades in all of
                                                     materials and information at the end
     your classes.
                                                     of each semester.
     Improve your English skills. Read
                                                     Identify what you want in a school.
     interesting books, magazines and
     newspapers. Keep a journal and                  Look for schools, visit campuses.
     write daily entries. Speak English with         Talk to your guidance counselor about
     your friends even if they speak your            attending college.
     native language.
                                                     Begin preparing for the SAT
     Get involved in extracurricular activities.     and/or ACT.
     Create a personal file with items               Develop Relationships with your
     such as:                                        teachers, advisors, or guidance
     •   Copy of report cards                        counselor.

     •   Certificates and awards presented           Sign up for challenging courses such as
         to you                                      AP classes and College Now classes.

     •   A list of your extracurricular
         activities and volunteer work
         including length of service.
                                                    It is especially important for
     Develop relationships with                     undocumented students to develop
     your teachers.                                 a group of teachers and friends that
                                                    can provide you support through
Sophomore Year (10th Grade)                         the process of applying to college.
     Keep your grades up.
     Take the PSAT.
     Think about joining two or three
     activities after school. Colleges are           Join a summer program, do volunteer
     looking for commitment to and a                 work or pursue an internship in an
     passion for activities outside of the           area of interest.
     academic setting.

                                                                    Road to College

   Contact us for more information on             Visit colleges that you are interested in
   places where you can join                      applying to.
   summer programs.                               Work on the common application
Junior Year (11th Grade)                          and your personal statement.

   Maintain a strong academic average.         Senior Year (12th Grade)
   Very important!!!
                                                  Your grades will continue to count this
   Continue with your extracurricular
                                                  year. Work hard!
   activities and volunteer service.
   (Try for leadership positions).                Meet with your counselor to finalize
                                                  your college list.
   Attend college fairs.
                                                  November is your last chance to take
   Ask your teachers about their
                                                  the SAT I.
   college experiences and what
   colleges they attended.                        Continue with your extracurricular
                                                  activities and volunteer work.
   Meet with your counselor to discuss
   college plans. Develop an initial list of      Meet with college representatives and
   10 -15 colleges where you may be               make college visits.
   interested in applying.                        Schedule campus or alumni interviews.
   Research different majors and careers.         Finish college applications by your
   Take the SAT I in May so that you can          counselor’s deadline.
   retake it if your scores are low.              File for financial aid after January 1st.
   Take SAT Subject Tests in June. Pick           You will receive college decision
   two subjects in which you feel you             letters around April and deposits are
   will excel.                                    usually due in May.
   Pass the English Regents.
                                               Attention Young Men
   Research different scholarships.
                                               Men living in the U.S. between the ages
   As for letters of recommendation from       of 18 and 26 who are U.S. Citizens,
   your counselor and teachers.                Lawful Permanent Residents, Asylees,
                                               Refugees and men without immigration
                                               status, are required to register for
   Continue with your volunteer work,          Selective Service, more commonly known
   attend a college summer program             as the Draft. The Draft gives the U.S.
   for high school students or get a job       government a list of names of men from
   or internship.                              which to draw in case of a national
                                               emergency requiring rapid expansion of
                                               our Armed Forces.

       Road to College

You can register for the Draft online              Explore other payment options such
by going to If you are                as a payment plan, a loan from a
undocumented, you must register by mail.           relative, or attending school part-time
Draft registration forms are available at
any U.S Post Office. If you don’t have a
Social Security Number, leave the space            Thinking about College
blank. Even if you did not register when
you turned 18, as long as you are under
                                                Congratulations on graduating high
26, you can still register.
                                               school. All your hard work so far has
If you are undocumented, it is important       really paid off. You are on your way to
that you register for the Draft because        achieving your dreams, whatever they
when you become eligible to become             may be. Remember to take a moment
a U.S. citizen, you may be barred from         and reflect on this important milestone
doing so for failure to register.              and be sure to celebrate.
                                               You’ve earned it!
Here are some tips for you Parents!
                                               Questions to consider
     Ask Questions about your
                                               •   Big or small school?
     children’s dreams
                                               •   Close to home or far away?
     Have conversations about going
     to college                                •   Public or private?
     Be involved in your child’s education:    •   Tuition, housing, and other costs
     attend PTA meetings, talk to their        •   Availability of scholarships and
     teachers, ask them how they are               financial aid
     doing in school.
                                               •   Choice of major/areas of interest
     Support your son or daughter’s
     dreams. For many students, college is     •   Availability of other activities (sports,
     a time to figure out one’s interests.         clubs, student organizations, volunteer
                                                   opportunities, etc.)
     Go with your children on college trips.
     Start saving money; open a savings        What is a college degree?
     bank account. Ask your bank               Bachelors and Associates Degrees: There
     representative about the requirements     are two basic types of degrees you
     if you do not have a social               can pursue in college. Bachelor’s and
     security number.                          Associates degrees. When studying full-
     Encourage your child to continue his      time, students receive a Bachelors degree
     or her education.                         in about four years. Associates degrees
                                               can be completed in as little as two
     File your taxes on time (for financial
                                               years. In the CUNY system, Bachelor’s
     aid purposes).

                                                                   Road to College

degrees can only be obtained at Senior       Colleges and four-year schools known as
Colleges, while students can study           Senior Colleges.
toward an Associates degree at Senior or
                                             SUNY: The State University of New
Community Colleges.
                                             York is the public university funded by
Keep in mind that many jobs and              NYS. These schools tend to be located
all graduate programs do require a           outside of the five boroughs and have
Bachelors (four-year) degree, because of     dormitories. Within the SUNY system,
the longer preparation needed for these      there are two-year Associate Degree
options. For example, you cannot pursue      colleges and four-year Bachelors Degree
a career as a doctor, engineer, lawyer       colleges. They are relatively more
or many others with only Associates          expensive than CUNY schools, but
(two-year) degree. However, you can          still at a much lower cost than private
begin with an Associates degree from a       universities.
Community College or another institution
                                             For more information on CUNY and
and then continue on to a Bachelor’s
                                             SUNY visit their websites—you can find
degree and beyond.
                                             them in our Resources section.
Dual Degree Programs: In dual degree
                                             Private Universities: Private universities
programs, students study for two
                                             are not government-funded. They are
different degrees at the same time, either
                                             much more expensive than the CUNY
at the same college or at a different
                                             and SUNY systems. Depending on
school. These programs usually take
                                             the school, they may offer programs,
less time than it would take to earn the
                                             housing options, student activities or
degrees separately.
                                             other amenities that public colleges do
                                             not offer. Some examples of private
What’s the difference between
                                             universities in NYC include New York
CUNY, SUNY & Private Universities?
                                             University, Columbia University and
The higher education system in the U.S is    Pace University.
two fold: public vs. private. In New York
for example, there are public colleges       Once I attend my college for some
that are funded by the city, state and       time, can I transfer to another?
federal government. The city’s college
                                             Yes. There are different reasons for
system is known as CUNY, the City
                                             changing schools. Maybe the school
University of New York, and the state’s
                                             you’re in doesn’t have the major you’re
college system is SUNY, State University
                                             looking for, or maybe you can only
of New York.
                                             receive an Associates there. You might
CUNY: City University of New York is the     also just need a change. It’s important
public university in NYC. It is made up of   to keep in mind that transferring will
17 colleges throughout the five boroughs.    probably involve some work and a lot of
Within the CUNY system, there are            care to make sure that the application is
two-year colleges known as Community         complete and has all the necessary parts.

       Road to College

When transferring to a new college or
university, be sure to check the school’s                     Testing
policy on application fees. For example,
when transferring within the CUNY
system, the $70 fee is not required. Also,
                                              What is the PSAT and should I
check your potential new school’s policy
                                              take it?
on credit transfers, being that some of the   The PSAT (Pre-Scholastic Achivement Test)
classes you have taken may not count          is a preliminary exam for the SAT’s and
toward your degree in your new school.        it is not required for college admission.
                                              However, it is a helpful method of
In the CUNY system, any student who
                                              preparation for the SAT and can qualify
graduated from a Community College
                                              you for some great merit scholarships.
with an Associates degree is given a
                                              So yes, take it if you can as a method
chance to complete a Bachelors degree
                                              of practice and a chance to win some
at a Senior College, applying the first
                                              college bucks!
two years of credits earned at Community
College toward that degree. This allows       What is the SAT & ACT and why
students to complete their Bachelors          should I take it?
degree in an additional two years.
                                              The SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) is
Programs available: In some Community
                                              an exam that tests critical thinking skills
Colleges there are vocational training
                                              and is used along with other factors
programs. However, you will not find
                                              by colleges everywhere as part of the
these programs at a Senior College.
                                              application process. It gives the colleges
Likewise is also true: many specific
                                              an idea on how you will do in your future
academic departments and courses of
                                              college education and you should take
study available at Senior Colleges are
                                              it in order to apply for these institutions.
not options at Community Colleges.
                                              Most college applications will not accept
                                              your application without it.
                   NOTE                       The ACT (American College Test) is an
     For financial aid and scholarships       exam that tests specific subjects learned
     it is often required that you            in high school, such as science, math etc.
     maintain full-time student status.       It is usually not required but some colleges
     Please see our financial aid section     do ask for such exams, especially if you
     for more information.                    are applying to a specific program.
                                              Check with the schools of your choice
                                              to find out which test they require. Some
                                              colleges accept either one.

                                                                      Road to College

When can you take the SAT or                    Fee waivers
the ACT?                                        Fee waivers for college applications or
These tests are given many times during         SAT registration are open to students who
the year. You need to register about five       are either American citizens or foreign
weeks before you plan to take them. For         nationals who are applying in the United
more information and to register for the        States, Puerto Rico, or U.S. territories.
test, go to the College Board website.          Eligibility is determined by family income
                                                or by participation in a public assistance
Where do you take the tests?                    programs, free-lunch and other programs
                                                for economically disadvantaged families.
Test centers are usually in local schools.
                                                The income guidelines are based on
How can I prepare?                              those of the federal free and reduced-
                                                price lunch program.
•   Get a Study Guide from your
                                                Private colleges and other universities
    Guidance Counselor or a public
                                                also have their own guidelines for
                                                application waivers so make sure you
•   Take a course (low-cost options             check with their admissions counselor for
    available), Give examples of study          an application and with your own high
    prep courses                                school guidance/college advisor.
•   Study Vocabulary words
•   Do a lot of reading
•   Take Practice SAT tests!

Are there fees to take the SAT
and ACT?
The fee for the SAT is $43. The ACT costs
$30. There are fee waivers available,
based on family income. If you qualify for
free lunch in your school, you can get a
fee waiver or request one specifically from
your guidance counselor.
For links to additional information on all of
these questions, see the Resources Section.

                                                [i] “College application fee waivers.” www.
                                       June 17, 2008. [http://
                           Applying to College

                                               Test Scores
        College Application                    Depending on the college you are
          Requirements                         applying, you may have to submit your
                                               SAT, SAT Subject test, or ACT test scores.
Application Form                               For example, CUNY senior colleges
                                               require SAT Scores, while the community
The application form has all your basic        colleges don’t. Make sure to review the
information. You can submit the same           application requirements carefully and
application form to all CUNY schools. All      consult your college advisor to find out
SUNY schools use the same application          what test scores are required.
form as well. For private schools, you
have to get their respective application       Personal Statement
form—you can get it online, ask the
                                               You are usually required to write a
school to mail it to you, or pick it up from
                                               personal essay for your application.
the school itself if you live in the area.
                                               This gives the school an opportunity to
                                               get to know you better while they see
                     TIP                       your writing ability. Depending on the
     Make sure to talk to your college         school, you may be asked to talk about
     advisor to figure out the best way        an important experience that has shaped
     to fill out the application forms.        who you are, why you are applying to
                                               that school, or some other general topic.
                                               Make sure you have a few friends and
Application Fee                                teachers look over your essay and
For CUNY and SUNY, you don’t have to           give feedback.
pay an application fee for each college
that you apply to. You pay a one time          Letters of Recommendation
application fee with your respective           Schools usually ask for letters of
CUNY or SUNY application form. The
                                               recommendation. When asking adults
application fee for each private
                                               to write your letters, you should choose
school varies.
                                               very carefully. Select people who know
High School Transcript                         you best and who would best be able to
                                               speak to your character, accomplishments
College Admissions Offices will review         work ethic, and potential for the future.
all the courses you took in high school        Teachers, guidance counselors, mentors
and their respective grades. All this          or even employers are some examples of
information is on your high school             people who can write letters for you.

                                                                  Applying to College

                                               application. The rules may sometimes
               WARNING                         vary depending on the college. Check
                                               with your counselor to make sure you
   Don’t ask family members for letters
                                               understand your rights and obligations.
   of recommendation
                                               Early decision plans are binding. This
                                               means that you commit to attend the
Extracurricular Activities,
                                               college if you are accepted. Although
Leadership & Community Service
                                               you can apply with early decision to
It is very important that you get involved     only one college, you may apply to other
in student clubs and community service         colleges through the regular admissions
activities. Although this is not part of the   process. If your early decision school
college application requirements, taking       accepts you, you must attend that
leadership roles will help you to grow         school, unless you can prove that the
as an individual and make you stand            financial aid package they offered you
out from the rest of students applying to      is insufficient and will cause financial
college. By participating in clubs and         hardship. Usually, colleges insist on a
community service organizations, you           nonrefundable deposit well before May 1.
provide the admissions office a better
                                               Early action plans are similar but are
sense of who you are, your potential, and
                                               not binding, unlike early decision. If
what you will bring to the college. Also
                                               you’ve been accepted, you can choose
keep in mind that a lot of scholarships
                                               to commit to the college immediately, or
and awards that will boost your
                                               wait until the spring. Under these plans,
college application are based on your
                                               you may also apply early action to other
participation in clubs, leadership and
                                               colleges. Usually, you have until the
community service.
                                               late spring to let the college know your

                    TIP                        Single-choice early action is a new option
                                               offered by a few colleges. This plan
   Be sure to send all parts of the
   application and get it in on time!          works the same way as other early action
                                               plans, but candidates may not apply
                                               early (either early action or early decision)
Application Types:                             to any other school. You can still apply to
Early Action and Early Decision                other schools and are not required to give
                                               your final answer of acceptance until the
Some schools will give you the option to
                                               regular decision deadline.
indicate Early Action or Early Decision on
your application, usually in November.         Confused? Here’s a chart to help you on
However, it is important to know the           the next page!
differences between early decision and
early action before sending in your

      Applying to College

                                            Can apply early      Can apply to other colleges
                                            to other colleges     under regular admissions

    Early Decision                Yes*            No                        Yes

    Early Action                   No             Yes                       Yes

    Single-Choice Early Action     No             No                        Yes

*unless you can prove financial hardship

                                                 Waiting list?
               Final Choice
                                                 Do not be discouraged if the school of
                                                 your choice wait lists you. It simply means
Accepted?                                        they did not have enough space to offer
Congratulations! Your acceptance letters         you a seat and want to hold on to you
and financial aid offers should arrive by        until more space becomes available.
mid-April, unless you applied early.             The best thing to do is decide if you
                                                 really want to attend the school before
Compare colleges and see which one fits
                                                 you agree to remain on the waiting list.
you best. When you make your decision,
                                                 Maybe you want to attend a school that
be sure to respond on time to confirm
                                                 has already accepted you. Ask for the
your acceptance. Oftentimes students
                                                 terms on which you are wait listed. There
choose to go to the first school that accepts
                                                 are often deadlines or housing options
them without considering the other schools
                                                 that change and you need to be aware
that may be offering better packages.
                                                 of them.
Make sure the school you accept is the
best choice for you. Here are some things
to keep in mind in comparing schools and
their offers:
                                                 Breathe and realize that that school may
•    What are the financial aid and              not be the right fit for you. Seeking higher
     scholarship packages?                       education is the ultimate goal here and
                                                 any college of your choice will take you
•    How much can my family and I
                                                 where you want to go so long as you
                                                 work hard for it. They are losing out on
•    How much debt am I going to have            a great young mind and another college
     when I get out of school?                   out there is anxious to have you there with
•    Does it have a good job                     them. Don’t take the rejection too much
     placement program?                          to heart. Look at your other choices and
                                                 continue on to a great college life.

                Higher Education &
          Immigrant Students without Status

According to the Urban Institute, it is          Immigration Status and
estimated that between 60,000 and                In-State Tuition
65,000 students without immigration
status graduate high school in the U.S.          In the following 11 states in the U.S.,
every year.                                      undocumented students are able to pay the
                                                 in-state tuition rate when going to college.
Immigrant students without immigration
status cannot work legally, receive              •   California
financial aid, some scholarships, or join        •   Illinois
the military. If this is your case, don’t lose
                                                 •   Kansas
hope, you will be able to go to college
and apply for scholarships that allow            •   Nebraska
undocumented applicants.                         •   New Mexico
Types of Tuition                                 •   New York

In-State Tuition: the tuition rate paid          •   Oklahoma
at public universities by students who           •   Texas
can prove residence in that state. For
example, if you live and attend to school        •   Utah
in NY you are considered a NY resident.          •   Washington
Out-of-state and international tuition fees:     •   Wisconsin
Out-of-state tuition rates are much higher
                                                 In other states, including New Jersey,
than in-state tuition. Students who attend
                                                 undocumented students must pay out-of-
college in a state different from the one
                                                 state or international student tuition rates.
where they graduated high school or
obtained their GED are considered                Whether a state offers in-state tuition
out-of-state students. International fees        or not, undocumented students are not
are also much higher than in-state-tuition,      eligible for federal or state financial aid,
sometimes 5 times higher. Students               and cannot work legally to pay for
considered international are those coming        their education.
from a different country to study in the         You are only eligible for in-state tuition in
U.S. with a student visa.                        the state where you obtained your GED
                                                 or High School Diploma, not necessarily
                                                 in any other state that may offer
                                                 in-state tuition.

      Higher Education &
Immigrant Students without Status

   Am I eligible for in-state                        In order to claim residency status for
   tuition rates?                                    tuition purposes, undocumented
                                                     students must:
   Non-resident tuition for state colleges and
   universities is significantly higher than in-     •   File affidavit state that s/he has filed or
   state tuition. In New York , undocumented             will file application for legal residence
   students are eligible for in-state tuition if     •   Show proof of domicile (rent checks,
   you meet the following requirements:                  pay stubs with a NY address, high
   •     You have attended for at least                  school records, etc.)
         two years and graduated from an             It is important that your school be aware
         approved New York State high school         of your legal status in order that you may
         and apply for attendance at a SUNY,         qualify for resident tuition rates. Check to
         CUNY, state-operated, or community          make sure that you are not classified as
         college within five years of receiving a    an international student, as international
         high school diploma, or                     students are charged higher tuition costs.
   •     You have attended an approved               Here’s a sample of the Required Affidavit
         New York State program for General          for Undocumented Students The affidavit
         Equivalency Diploma preparation,            must be notarized stating that you have
         received a GED issued in New York           either filed an application to fix your
         State , and applied for attendance at       immigration status or will file such an
         a SUNY, CUNY, state-operated, or            application as soon as you are eligible
         community college within five years of      to do so.
         graduating high school

                         Affidavit of Intent to Legalize Immigration Status

                       (student’s name), being duly sworn, deposes and says that he/she
         does not currently have a lawful immigration status but, has filed an application to
         legalize his/her immigration status or will file such an application as soon as he/
         she is eligible to do so.

                                                             (student’s signature)

         Sworn to me this      (day) of             (month) of       (year)
         State of New York, County of             (ie. Queens, Nassau, Kings, etc.)

   Remember, this affidavit is simply stating that when you become eligible you will apply
   to gain immigration status.

                                                               Higher Education &
                                                         Immigrant Students without Status

How do I answer questions about
my immigration status and Social
Security number?
                                                 You are not an international student
Students who are asked about their               when you are undocumented
immigration status should NEVER lie on
their college applications. If you are not
a U.S. Citizen or a Lawful Permanent          Do private colleges and universities
Resident/Green Card holder, do not say        accept students without
that you are. When asked what your            immigration status?
immigration status is, you can simply write
                                              Every private college and university
“none” or “not qualified.”
                                              determines its own policy for students
No applicant is required to submit a Social   who are out-of-status. You can call the
Security number (SSN). If you do not have     admissions office and ask about its
an SSN, leave the question blank.             policies for students without immigration
If you have a Social Security card that       status. Some schools have more flexible
states that you are not work authorized or    policies than others.
that you are work authorized only with an
employment authorization document, the
SSN is still a valid number – even if you
have no work permit – and should                 If you are nervous about calling,
                                                 ask a friend or guidance counselor
be included.
                                                 to ask for you.
Will the school report me to
the federal government if I am
Colleges and Universities are not required
to call Immigration Services to inform
them about students without immigration
status. Colleges are required to report
information to immigration authorities
about international students who have
student visas.

                           Paying for College

                                              to be accepted to a higher education
             Financial Aid                    institution to apply for aid. You can apply
                                              for financial aid any time after January 1.
                                              To actually receive funds, you must be
Federal and state financial aid is not
                                              admitted and enrolled at the university.
available to undocumented immigrant
students; most of the following information   You have to apply for financial aid every
applies to immigrants with immigration        year, meaning you have to fill out the
status (legal permanent residence             FAFSA every year. After your first year
or citizenship).                              you will receive a “Renewal Application”
                                              which has information from the previous
                                              year’s FAFSA. Your eligibility for financial
                    TIP                       aid may change significantly, especially
     If you talk to someone by phone          if you have a different number of family
     about your financial aid, keep           members in college.
     written notes of your conversation,      About 4 weeks after you send in the
     including the person’s name,             FAFSA form, you will receive the Student
     telephone number, and date.
                                              Aid Report (SAR). Make sure all the
                                              information is correct. This report lists the
Many programs and scholarships are            expected contributions from your parents.
only open for U.S citizen students. If your   In other words, it’s the amount the
parents are already legal permanent U.S       government expects your family to pay.
residents, you should find out if they are    The difference between your expected
eligible to apply for citizenship. If they    family contributions (EFC) and the cost
do, we recommend that they apply so           of college is the amount of aid you will
that you can become a U.S. citizen too.       need. The school you plan to attend will
                                              use this information to prepare a financial
Typically, Financial Aid comes in
                                              package for you.
three forms:
                                              Renewal of your financial aid package
•    Scholarships and grants
                                              also depends on your making satisfactory
•    Work-Study programs                      academic progress toward a degree,
•    Loans                                    such as earning a minimum number of
                                              credits and achieving a minimum GPA.
                                              After mailing the FAFSA form, you will
To apply for financial aid you will need      receive a letter in about 3-4 weeks stating
to submit the Free Application for Federal    that your information does not match
Student Aid (FAFSA).You don’t have            Federal Financial Aid records. Don’t

                                                                    Paying for College

panic! This is ok, disregard this notice, it
does not affect you in any way—it is only          Scholarships & Grants
proof that you submitted the FAFSA.
In some cases, public or private colleges             This symbol indicates that the
may ask you to fill out the FAFSA as part             scholarship is available to
of a scholarship requirement. In this case,           undocumented students.
you should fill out but make sure that
                                               Grants and scholarships are financial
school is aware of your immigration status.
                                               awards for your tuition that don’t have to
Undocumented Students and                      be repaid.
the FAFSA                                      The U.S. government funds two of the
Undocumented students do not need to fill      largest grant programs:
out the FAFSA, unless they are applying        •   Federal Pell Grant:
for the Peter V. Vallone Scholarship, which
                                               •   Federal Supplemental Educational
we discuss more in detail in pg. 21. If you
                                                   Opportunity Grant
have to fill out the FAFSA, you must apply
via mail—not online. You can leave the         Some states also offer grants.
Social Security Number space blank             Most grants and scholarships come from
and only fill out your basic information.      colleges or private sources such as:
When asked about your citizenship and
immigration status, you should check the       •   Community Service Groups
option that says, “No, I am not a citizen      •   Religious Groups
or eligible citizen.”
                                               •   Private Companies
                                               •   Employers
                                               •   Institutional Grants (colleges,
   Save your Parent’s FAFSA PIN
   and password in a safe place and
   choose a password that is easy              Keep in mind that is possible to be
   to remember                                 awarded more than one scholarship
                                               or grant. There are lots of scholarships
                                               out there so make sure to do your own
                                               research. Check our Resource page for
                                               places where you can start your research!

      Paying for College

        Peter Vallone New York City            •   Attend CUNY before attending any
        Council academic scholarship               other post secondary institution

Established by the New York City               In order to keep the scholarship
Council, the Vallone Scholarship rewards       you must
high school graduates
                                               •   Maintain continuous full-time enrollment
How to Qualify                                     within the City University of New
•    Graduate from a NYC public or private         York system
     high school with a “B” average or         •   You must maintain a cumulative GPA
     better and enroll directly into a CUNY        of 3.0 or higher
     college within a year of graduation.
                                               •   In your first semester at least six credit
•    Maintain a “B” average or better and          hours of your full-time enrollment must
     receive up to $1,000 a year for five          be college credit bearing course
     years. Associate’s degree students            work; Future semesters require at
     are eligible for 6 semesters. You may         least 12 credit hours of college credit
     qualify for additional financial aid,         bearing work
     based on need.
For more information on this scholarship
and the application form, please check                             NOTE
our Resources section                              The award will not not restored once
                                                   it has been lost
In the recent years the Vallone Scholarship
has been about $1000 per year.
There is no separate application for the       •   The award is not restored once it has
scholarship. Students are automatically            been lost
considered for the award when they             •   If you an undocumented student and
apply for admission to CUNY and                    have all the requirements mentioned
complete a FAFSA every year.                       above, pay close attention to how you
                                                   are supposed to fill out the FAFSA.
To qualify you must
                                               •   Most students can fill out the FAFSA
•    Complete and submit a FAFSA
                                                   on the internet, but undocumented
•    Graduate from a New York City high            students cannot. Undocumented
     school with at least an 80 (B) average        students should get the paper
•    Enroll at a CUNY college as a full-time       application from the financial aid
     student within one year of graduating         office
     from high school                          •   When asked about your Social
•    Register as a full-time student each          Security Number, leave it blank if you
     semester (except summer) and maintain         don’t have one
     at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA

                                                                    Paying for College

•   When asked about your immigration              Not be simultaneously enrolled in
    status, check the box that says “No, I         elementary or secondary school
    am not a citizen or eligible citizen”
                                                   Be a U.S. citizen or national, or a
•   Fill in your address, school information,      legal permanent resident
    and other required information.
                                                   Have a valid Social Security Number
•   Mail the form to the specified address.        (SSN)

What are Pell Grants and how do                    Be registered with Selective Service,
they work?                                         if required

Pell Grants are awarded usually only               Certify, by signing a Statement of
to undergraduate students who have                 Educational Purpose, that he or she
not earned a Bachelor’s degree. The                will use federal student aid only to
maximum Pell Grant award can change                pay for educational costs
each year and depends on program                   Not owe a payment on a federal
funding.                                           grant or Federal Perkins Loan

Who is Eligible?                                   Not have borrowed in excess of the
                                                   annual loan limits
Students with family incomes up to
                                                   Not have property that can be taken
$50,000 may be eligible for Pell Grants.
                                                   away for a debt owed to the U.S.
However, most Pell awards go to students
with family incomes below $20,000.                 Be maintaining satisfactory academic
There is no charge to apply for a Federal          progress
Pell Grant.
                                                   Not have drug convictions
You also must meet the following                Students can receive Pell Grants for their
requirements for Federal Aid:                   undergraduate study until they complete
                                                a baccalaureate or their first advanced
    Demonstrate financial need; this
                                                degree, such as pharmacy or dentistry.
    means that your cost of education is
    greater than what your family can           How Much Money Can You Get?
                                                The maximun grant for the 2010 to 2011
    Be a regular student enrolled or
                                                school year was $5,500. The minimun
    accepted for enrollment in an eligible
                                                amount is usually $400.
    program at an eligible institution.
    Have a high school diploma or GED           How is the Award Determined?

    Pass an approved ability to benefit         Pell Grants are based on a formula
    test (ATB)                                  that is applied in the same way to
                                                all applicants. The formula is revised

      Paying for College

and approved each year by the U.S.            Federal Work Study
Congress. The actual award a student
receives depends on a number of               Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-
                                              time jobs for students with financial need,
factors including:
                                              allowing them to earn money to help
•    The tuition cost.                        pay education expenses. The program
•    The family’s financial situation, how    encourages community service work
     much your parents can afford to pay      and work related to the recipient’s course
     for college                              of study.

•    Family size.                             Federal Perkins Loan
•    Whether the student is attending full-   A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest
     time or part-time                        (5 percent) loan for both undergraduate
                                              and graduate students with exceptional
Federal Supplemental Education                financial need. Federal Perkins Loans are
Opportunity Grant                             made through a school’s financial aid
Federal Supplemental Educational              office. Your school is your lender, and the
                                              loan is made with government funds. You
Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are for
                                              must repay this loan to your school.
undergraduates with exceptional financial
need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest   Your school will either pay you directly
Estimated Family Contribution or EFC          (usually by check) or apply your loan to
(will be the first to get FSEOGs. Just like   your school charges. You’ll receive the
Pell Grants, FSEOGs don’t have to be          loan in at least two payments during the
paid back.                                    academic year.
                                              The Federal Supplemental Educational
How much can I get?
                                              Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal
You can receive between $100 and              Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Perkins
$4,000 a year, depending on when you          Loan programs are called campus-based
apply, your financial need, the funding       programs because they’re administered
at the school you’re attending, and the       directly by the financial aid office at each
policies of the financial aid office at       participating school. Not all schools
your school.                                  participate in all three programs.
                                              Check with your school’s financial aid
If I am eligible, how will I get the          office to find out which programs they
FSEOG money?                                  participate in.
If you’re eligible, your school will credit   How much aid you receive from each
your account, pay you directly (usually by    of these programs depends on your
check), or combine these methods.             financial need, on the amount of other
                                              aid you receive, and on the availability of
                                              funds at your college or career school.

                                                                Paying for College

Unlike the Federal Pell Grant Program,      Federal Supplemental Educational
which provides funds to every eligible      Opportunity Grant
student, the campus-based programs
provide a certain amount of funds for       Website for more info: http://www.
each participating school to administer
each year. When the money for a             Eligibility: Must be a U.S citizen or
program is gone, no more awards can         eligible non citizen
be made from that program for that year.
                                            Basic requirements: Must demonstrate
So, make sure you apply for federal
                                            financial need, considering household of
student aid as early as you can. Each
                                            family and tuition costs. Also, the size of
school sets its own deadlines for campus-
                                            your grant and availability depends on
based funds, and those deadlines are
                                            the school you are attending.
usually earlier than the Department of
Education’s deadline for filing a FAFSA.    How much? You can get anywhere from
                                            $100 to about $4000 per year.
                                            Will I need to pay this back? No
   Never pay a fee for scholarship
   money or application information.                         Loans
   Real scholarships never charge
   fees, and the information about
   applying is available.                   When you get loans, you will sign a
                                            contract, basically a legal document that
                                            shows that you pledge to repay the debt.

Federal Pell Grant                                         WARNING
                                               Review a loan’s provision carefully
Website for more info: http://www.
                                               before you accept it. Make sure
                                               you understand what you will
Eligibility: Must be a U.S citizen or          have to repay and when. Most
eligible non citizen                           important, do not borrow more
                                               than you need.
Basic requirements: Must demonstrate
financial need, considering household
income, size of family and tuition costs.   Other Financial Aid opportunities
                                            for Undocumented Students
How much? You can get anywhere from
$400 to about $4300 per year.               CUNY scholarships and opportunities are
                                            open to undocumented students.
Will I need to pay this back? No
                                            Students without immigration status cannot
                                            obtain federally-funded or NYS-funded

     Paying for College

financial aid. However, students without       Lehman College; Queens College; Staten
immigration status can apply for some          Island; and Hunter College)
private scholarships and awards to help
them pay for higher education. You may         Admission
also be able to get student loans, but they
                                               If you meet the eligibility standards,
are very difficult to obtain.
                                               you must apply by special application,
Payment Plans for Tuition                      available online at the Macaulay Honors
                                               College Website.
TuitionPay is a plan that allows you
                                               The application deadline is November
to pay your tuition for the semester in
                                               1 for early admission and December 15
interest-free monthly installments. It works
                                               for regular admission. Students applying
well for students and families who cannot
                                               to the Honors college need NOT file a
afford the entire bill at one time.
                                               regular admission application to CUNY.
Under this plan, you still owe the same        The Honors College application serves as
amount of tuition, but you have more time      the freshman admission application both
to pay and the payments are smaller and        to CUNY and the Honors College.
easier to manage.
Scholarships and Awards for
All Students                                   •   The Macaulay Honors College admits
                                                   only new first-year students.
For a list of scholarships and awards that
                                               •   Students in any major may be accepted.
do not depend on immigration status visit or              •   Must have a high school GPA of 94.6
Additionally, on you               or higher (on a scale of 100).
can fill out a profile indicating that you
                                               •   SAT score (math and verbal) of 1395
are undocumented and view scholarship
                                                   or higher.
matches that fit.
                                               •   demonstrate involvement on
Cuny Honors Programs                               extracurricular activities and/or
                                                   community service
Acceptance to the CUNY Honors
Program in CUNY is also open to                •   Personal initiative and leadership
undocumented students. The CUNY
                                               •   2 recommendations from teachers or
Honors Program usually pays for the
                                                   guidance counselors.
student’s entire tuition.
                                               •   Submit an energetic and thought-
      Macaulay Honors College                      provoking essay, answering the
                                                   specific question on the application.
(Participating CUNY colleges: Baruch
College; Brooklyn College; City College;

                                                                    Paying for College

Students in the Macaulay Honors                 Retention Criteria
College receive
                                                •   Students are expected to achieve an
•   Full-tuition scholarship                        overall 3.3 G.P.A. by the end of their
                                                    first year and a 3.5 G.P.A. by the end
•   A study grant of $7,500 to fund
                                                    of the second year, which must be
    enriching experiences such as study
                                                    maintained until graduation.
    abroad and service learning away.
                                                In case you missed the deadline for the
•   Special interdisciplinary seminars
                                                Macaulay Honors College, do not worry,
    using NYC as resource and text.
                                                there is another program some CUNY
•   A “cultural passport” providing entree      colleges offer, you may be eligible to
    to the riches of New York City,             apply, called Honors Program.
    including concerts, theater, art, science
                                                The requirements and benefits of this
    and history museums and galleries.
                                                program may vary depending on the
•   Intensive mentoring and advisement          college you are applying to. So it
    from faculty and dedicated                  is strongly recommended to visit the
    honors advisors.                            admissions office of the college of your
•   First-day registration privileges.          choice to know the specifics.
                                                For instance:
                                                •   full tuition may not be covered, but
•   All honors college students take four           you might still get some scholarships or
    special interdisciplinary seminars              awards from the college.
    focusing on NYC and fulfill additional
    liberal arts core requirements              •   A small number of incoming transfer
    (depending on their major).                     and continuing students are admitted
                                                    to the program to the discretion of the
•   In the upper division (junior and senior        director.
    years), students may take additional
    honors college sponsored courses and        If you did not have a chance to apply
    must complete a senior project.             to the programs previously mentioned,
                                                remember to locate the scholarship office,
•   Students must complete an internship        information center, welcoming center or
    or study abroad program and have            office alike, in the college you are planning
    a minimum of 30 hours community or          to attend, to inquire about awards and
    college service over the course of the      other opportunities the institution may
    four-year program.                          offer. You may also want to check out our
                                                resources section on page 29, to find out
                                                additional information that can help you
                                                on your road to college.

                               What now?
                           Pass the DREAM Act!

How can undocumented students                  The DREAM Act
legalize their status?
                                               The Development, Relief and Education
Currently undocumented students living         for Alien Minors Act
in the U.S. can only get immigration
                                               The DREAM Act is legislation that would
status through:
                                               provide a path to citizenship for all
•    Family petition system, from which        undocumented students who:
     you will need to have an immediate
                                               •   Have lived in the U.S. for five years
     relative who is a US citizen.
                                                   or more,
     Immediate relatives can petition for
     spouses, parents, unmarried children      •   Arrived in the U.S. before they turned
     under the age of 21, and                      16, and
     widows/widowers.                          •   Demonstrate good moral character.
•    Employment sponsorship                    Upon high school graduation, the
•    Refugees/Asylum/Victims of                immigrant student could apply for
     Domestic Violence                         conditional residence and have up to six
                                               years to complete one of the following
Keep in mind that there are some high
                                               requirements for unconditional lawful
demand top careers you can pursue that
                                               permanent resident (green card) status:
might facilitate employment sponsorship.
                                               •   Graduate from a two-year college; or
                                               •   Complete two years towards a four-
                     NOTE                          year degree; or
     Even if there is no way you can get
                                               •   Serve in the U.S. military for two years
     your immigration status, there is still
     hope. The DREAM Act can provide
     a path to legalize your status!
                                                     ON GOING TO COLLEGE!
                                                   You’ve made an excellent choice
                                                   to secure a successful future. The
                                                   months and years to come may not
                                                   be easy, but in the long run you will
                                                   be glad that you took this important
                                                   step. Good luck!

                   Give Back and Get Active

The New York State Youth                      Promoting Immigrant Voices in
Leadership Council (YLC)                      Education (PIVE)
The New York State Youth Leadership           Promoting Immigrant Voices in Education
Council provides a great opportunity to       (PIVE), an organization that worked to
give back to your community, helping          educate immigrant parents on their rights
immigrant youth and the children of           in NYC schools, worked closely with
immigrants access higher education,           the YLC to develop this guide in its early
while also developing your own                stages. Since then, PIVE has become part
leadership skills. Join the YLC and support   of the YLC and will now be expanding
our efforts to pass the DREAM Act this        our work with immigrant parents. To find
year, and to educate our communities on       materials and information for parents,
their rights and opportunities, regardless    please visit our website.
of immigration status.
E-mail for more
information on how you can get involved!
The YLC promotes the advancement
of immigrant youth and children
of immigrants through leadership
development, organizing and advocacy.
We believe that improving access to
higher education and creating equal
opportunity for immigrant youth are a
means to fulfill our mission.
Our legislative priority is the DREAM
Act, a bill that if passed would allow
immigrant youth who have grown up in
the U.S. to adjust their immigration status
if they meet certain requirements and
complete at least two years of higher
education or military service.
For more information, visit our website at
email us at or call us at
212-627-2227 ext. 248.


Graduating High School                     •   CUNY University Student Senate
•    New York Sate Higher Education            international/nyic.html
     Services Corporation                          Financial Aid & Scholarships
•    College Now                           •   Federal Student Aid     
•    General Educational Development       •   Find Aid
     Testing Office-GED              
                                           •   Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Road to College                      

•    College Board                         •   Mexican American Legal Defense &                      Education Fund-MALDEF
•    ACT test                    •   National Council of La Raza-NCLR
•    College Summit Student Essays            •   New York State Youth Leadership
     student-essays.html                       Council-YLC
•    City University of New York-CUNY                          •   Peter F. Vallone Scholarship
•    State University of New York-SUNY         undergraduate/scholarships/vallone.                              html
Higher Education & Immigrant               •   CUNY Honors Program
Student without Immigration Status   

•    New York State Youth                  •   Fast Web
     Leadership Council              
•    Immigrant Legal Resource Center / A
     Guide for Immigrant Youth


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