How does the university support undocumented students at NEIU? 

It is important that NEIU provides an open and supportive campus environment for all of our students. Undocumented Student Resources has partnered with campus offices and departments, legal experts and community resources to ensure that undocumented students are provided with the resources they need to successfully complete their education at NEIU. In October of 2012, Northeastern awarded an Innovation Grant for the Undocumented Students Project. The purpose of the Undocumented Students Project was to provide information and support to Northeastern Illinois University’s faculty and staff who work with undocumented students at all University locations. In the spring of 2013, the Undocumented Students Project added to NEIU’s support for undocumented students through free DACA screenings, an Ally training program and the creation of a resource guide for faculty, staff and students. In 2014, The Division of Student Affairs at NEIU institutionalize support for undocumented students with the creation of position of  Director of Undocumented Student Resources. The director provides students with one-on-one life advising, connects students with University and external resources, provides purposeful programming, trains faculty and staff, connects with community-based organizations and immigration experts, establishes connections with high schools and community colleges, and shares best practices with other institutions of higher education.

For additional information about Undocumented Student Resources or other support services for undocumented students and their families, please contact us at (773) 442-4601 or at

Does NEIU have any resources specifically for undocumented students? 

In addition to the Undocumented Student Resources, Undocumented Resilient and Organized (URO), a student organization comprised of undocumented students and allies, was created to provide a voice and support to immigrant students attending Northeastern. URO is more than just a student organization that advocates on behalf of undocumented students. URO is a space in which critical consciousness is being learned and expressed. It is a place where individuals can speak out, raise their voices, challenge, resist and fight against injustices of all types and at all levels. To contact URO, visit their website or email them at

I’m undocumented. Is there a way to indicate that on my application when I apply? 

Yes. Undocumented students should mark “undocumented” under Citizenship Information. 

I’ve heard that undocumented students can receive in-state tuition at NEIU, is that true? What’s the process for getting in-state tuition? 

Yes. However, all undocumented students are initially assigned non-resident (out of state) tuition rates. In order to possibly change the tuition rate to in-state, the student should fill out and submit the Affidavit form which is included with their admission letter. This form should be submitted within 30 days of the start of the semester in order to reassess tuition for the current term. Students must answer yes or no to all questions and sign the affidavit. Once submitted, the Admissions Office will review the affidavit and high school record to determine if the student qualifies for in-state tuition per Public Act 93-0007. If so, tuition will be reassessed to in-state. 

I’m an undocumented student, am I eligible for FAFSA? 

No. In order to be eligible for FAFSA, a student must be a U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident (green card holder) or have one of the following immigration statuses: Conditional Resident, Granted Asylum or Refugee, Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Conditional Entrant or Battered Immigrant – Qualified Alien (VAWA). 

I’m a United States citizen but my parents are undocumented, am I eligible for FAFSA? 

Yes. United States citizen and permanent resident students with undocumented parents are eligible for FAFSA. If you have questions about how to fill out your FAFSA, please contact The Financial Aid Office at NEIU. 

I heard that the RISE act is a new application for undocumented students in Illinois to apply for state financial aid. Can I apply?

Yes. The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act allows eligible undocumented students and transgender students who are disqualified from federal financial aid to apply for all forms of state financial aid. The RISE Act or Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid provides a pathway for these qualified students to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, the state's largest need-based grant program for low-income college students.

The RISE Act also removed the 75-hour cap on Monetary Award Program (MAP) paid credit hours for freshmen and sophomores as of Jan. 1, 2020. The overall maximum of 135 MAP paid credit hours remains in effect.

Undocumented students may be eligible to apply for the RISE if they meet all of these criteria:

  • resided with your parent or guardian while attending an Illinois public or private high school;
  • graduated from a public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Illinois (GED);
  • attended school in Illinois for at least three years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma;
  • provide an affidavit stating that you will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity the individual is eligible to do so; and
  • have not established a residence outside of Illinois.

Are undocumented students eligible for scholarships offered by NEIU? 

Yes. Beginning in the fall of 2011, the NEIU Foundation, along with talent and merit scholarships, were made available for all qualified students, regardless of citizenship, opening the doors to more financial support for qualified undocumented students. Today, 100% of talent and merit scholarships do not require U.S. citizenship. A total of $1.35 million is available to all qualified students. In addition, 96% of NEIU Foundation scholarships ($115,200) do not require U.S. citizenship. In addition, the University offers two scholarships specifically for undocumented students: The Dr. Daniel Lopez Jr. Scholarship and the Aspire Scholarship.

As a former undocumented student, Dr. Daniel López Jr., former Vice President of Student Affairs, understands the obstacles undocumented college students face and their challenges in obtaining private funds. Established by Dr. López, the Undocumented Student Fund supports expenses such as: 

  • Programs and services for undocumented students, their families, and allies in the community to educate on challenges, opportunities, and current issues as they unfold. 
  • Emergency financial help with DACA application fees, books, supplies, and other situations.
  • Travel assistance for conferences.
  • Helping undocumented students participate in classes or co-curricular projects.

The Aspire Scholarship is an endowed scholarship fund established by President Emerita Salme Harju Steinberg, Ph.D., and other generous donors as Northeastern’s answer to President Obama’s Dream Relief Policy and the State of Illinois’ state version of the Dream Act. While undocumented students are eligible to receive most scholarships within the NEIU Foundation, the Aspire Fund has been created specifically to help undocumented students. 

I’m undocumented and I’m interested in applying for the McNair Scholars Program. Can I apply?

Although undocumented students are not eligible to fully participate in the McNair Scholars Program because it is federally funded, NEIU’s McNair program has made it possible to accept a couple of students from time to time by utilizing institutional funds. While undocumented students accepted into the McNair program are not eligible to receive the stipend offered, the staff provides these scholars with the preparation that any McNair scholar should receive from such program.

Are undocumented students eligible for private scholarship opportunities? 

Yes. There are many private scholarship funds that do not restrict eligibility based on U.S. citizenship. For a list of scholarships visit our Paying for College webpage. 

Does NEIU accept undocumented students to its graduate programs?

Yes. Undocumented students who meet all other graduate program admissions criteria are welcome to apply to any of NEIU’s graduate programs.

What is DACA? Where can I go for more information? 

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and met several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

Should I add to my admissions application the social security number that I was granted through DACA? 

Students who have been approved for DACA are still considered undocumented. 

Undocumented students are not required to provide a social security number. However, DACA approved students who are interested in campus employment as a student aid can add their Social Security number to their application. 

It is also important to remember that Social Security numbers and work authorization provided by DACA do not change the admission process and do not make a student eligible for federal financial aid or assistance.

I’m a DACA recipient. Does that mean that I can apply for FAFSA or any other type of federal financial aid? 

No. Unfortunately, DACA-approved students are not eligible for FAFSA or any other form of federal financial aid. In fact, DACA-approved students should definitely NOT file a FAFSA. Filing a FAFSA can have long-term immigration consequences for someone who is not eligible. However, since January 2020, you may be eligible for state financial aid in Illinois if you meet the RISE Act requirements. For more information and to access the RISE Act application, visit the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website.

Can I work on campus as a DACA recipient? 

Certain on-campus jobs, such as Student Aide and Extra Help are open to all students who are enrolled at least half-time and have eligibility to work in the United States – this includes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA work eligibility. However, undocumented students (or DACA) are not eligible for federal Work Study positions. 

Am I eligible for TRIO Student Support Services? 

Unfortunately, undocumented students are not eligible to participate in TRIO. TRIO is a federally funded program and undocumented students are not eligible for the benefits from federally funded programs. DACA-approved students, even if they have a Social Security number, are still considered undocumented.

I’m interested in applying for DACA but haven’t done so yet. Can NEIU help me with my application? 

Unfortunately, the Trump administration rescinded DACA in 2017 and no new DACA applications are being accepted. Only DACA recipients may be able to renew their permit every two years. Undocumented Student Resources may be able to help you pay for your DACA renewal or connect you with a reputable organization that can help you renew your DACA. Contact us if you need our help at