Who is an Undocumented Student?
Typically, undocumented immigrants have entered the U.S. without inspection or legal permission. Being undocumented can also refer to a person with expired paperwork or a person in deportation proceedings.
Undocumented students are often brought to the U.S. by their parents at very young ages, have completed most of their schooling in this country, and find out about their lack of legal status when they are in high school. Not having a social security number is one potential sign of being undocumented.
Undocumented Students and Higher Education
Federal law does not prohibit states from providing in-state tuition to undocumented students. Currently, at least 18 states have provisions allowing for in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. Sixteen states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington—extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through state legislation. Two states—Oklahoma and Rhode Island—allow in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through Board of Regents decisions. For further information, please visit the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In 2008, HB 1804 was passed, placing the burden of whether to provide in-state tuition to undocumented students on the Oklahoma Board of Regents (OSRHE Chapter 3, 3.17.6). Undocumented students still receive in-state tuition if they meet the following requirements:
- Graduated from public or private high school in Oklahoma
- Resided in Oklahoma with a parent or guardian while attending classes for at least 2 years prior to high school graduation
- Secured admission to, and enrolled in, an institution within the Oklahoma state system of higher education; and provided to the institution a copy of a true and correct application or petition filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to legalize the student’s status OR filed an Affidavit of Intent (PDF).
Affidavit of Intent
According to OK House Bill 1804 undocumented students who graduate from public or private high school in Oklahoma while residing in Oklahoma with a parent or guardian while attending classes for at least 2 years prior to high school graduation may receive in-state tuition by completing the Affidavit of Intent (PDF).
Undocumented Students and Financial Aid
Undocumented students are not eligible to receive federally funded financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships, or work study money. For additional information and frequently asked questions about financial aid and undocumented students go to Federal Student Aid: An Office of the U.S. Department of Education.
Undocumented students who provide the institution a copy of a true and correct application or petition filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to legalize their immigration status, may be eligible for state and university scholarships.
CollegeBoard identifies three main areas where undocumented students may have special concerns or obstacles: admission, tuition and financial aid. Read the full article.
The University of Oklahoma welcomes all undergraduate and graduate applicants regardless of citizenship status. Undocumented students, with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, should follow the same application procedure for all other OU applicants.
The University of Oklahoma Undergraduate Application for Admission allows undocumented students to self-identify and be processed correctly.
The Common Application, also used for freshman admissions at the University of Oklahoma, does not have an option for students to list themselves as “undocumented" however, applications will be routed to the appropriate admissions counselor based on the questions answered in the application.
The University of Oklahoma Graduate Application for Admission does not have an option for students to list themselves as “undocumented.” Students should complete the regular online application, list themselves as citizens or permanent residents and then contact the office to change their citizenship status to the proper status.