The DACA program was started in 2012 to allow undocumented children who came to the U.S. as immigrants a chance to stay and work in the country for two years.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy initiated by President Obama in 2012 that allows certain undocumented immigrant youth, those who have come into America before their 16th birthday, with no criminal history and meet other requirements, to get temporary permission from deportation and be eligible for work permits. In 2017, then-President Trump tried unsuccessfully to end the program but has since rescinded his decision. The future of this program is still unclear; however, it remains one of Obama’s most significant legacies on immigration reform.
The cost of tuition could be an obstacle for many in the pursuit of higher education. Thankfully, there are a number of private student loans to help fund your tuition costs! Student loans can provide up to the total cost of attendance at your school per year and you typically don’t have to start paying it back until 6 months after graduation.
Tuition is expensive. In fact, according to College Board’s 2017 report on Trends in College Pricing 1 out of every 10 college students drops out because they couldn’t afford their degree without putting themselves into debt. Fortunately, student loans might bridge the gap between what you earn at work or have in your savings and what your tuition costs.
Most college students with DACA status, like international students, can’t get federal loans.
The U.S Department of Education says that illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal student loans which includes those who have DACA status and work permits. In order to finance their college tuition, many DACA students will need private lenders or scholarships from colleges and universities they’re attending.
Schools can be expensive, so students might need a private loan to cover the cost. They’ll often need to provide a co-signer who has good credit and is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to qualify for this type of financing.
When it comes to loans for college, DACA students are often at a disadvantage because they may not have any credit history or have a poor credit score. However, this is not the case for all loans as some student loan companies have stepped up and offered to offer student loan options without cosigners.
When DACA students need a loan, they often do not have access to a co-signer who is willing or able to help them with their financial needs. However, there are new rules in place that allow these individuals to make an application for loans without needing a cosigner. The bill requires any loan request from someone with Deferred Action status must undergo additional screening before approval and does not guarantee acceptance.
DACA students may be able to get a loan or receive financial aid through their college’s financial aid office. Getting a loan is not the only way DACA students may be able to pay for their education. Some options include grants, scholarships, and paid internships.
You may be able to borrow up to the full cost of your education, minus any other financial aid you are receiving in the form of grants and scholarships.
When it comes to student loan payments, all lenders are different and have different repayment terms. After graduation there is usually a 6 month grace period where your payment is either nothing or is lower than the full monthly repayment amount.
You can confirm the actual rates with your lender before you agree to take out the loan. Make sure you understand the rate that applies to your product and whether it is a fixed or variable interest rate.
Here are some example rates:
These are examples only and you should check the current rates from your lender.
Graduate DACA students: 7.99% introductory rate ( 8.89% APR ), reduced to 6.49% ( 7.52% APR ) if you qualify for certain discounts.
Undergraduate DACA students: 9.99% introductory rate ( 10.91% APR ), reduced to 8.49% ( 9.56% APR ) if you qualify for certain discounts.
In order to qualify for a loan as an undocumented immigrant in the United States, you need to have a Social Security number and be eligible for employment.
You can still go to college without a Social Security number or driver’s license, but you will not be eligible for federal financial aid.
If you’re in the DACA program and have received a Social Security number, you can complete your FAFSA. You’ll even get a Student Aid Report outlining your eligibility to receive nonfederal aid! The Department of Education suggests that you talk to your high school counselor and college financial aid office before filling out the FAFSA. You might live in a state with an alternative application for undocumented students, so it is important to research this option.
There are many scholarship opportunities for DACA and international students. You can find a list of scholarships at IEFA.org/scholarships
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