Unique Scholarship Opportunities 

Undocumented students are not eligible to receive or participate in programs/events that are funded by federal grants. Further, federal laws prohibit NEIU from dedicating monetary funds to undocumented students. These restrictions lead to two problems: NEIU’s undocumented students are unable to take full advantage of all the University has to offer; and more importantly, this can underscore feelings of exclusion and isolation. Compounded by financial burdens, this increases the likelihood of dropping out altogether, but, we can help. All of NEIU's talent, merit, and foundation scholarships are open to undocumented students. 

In January 2020, the state of Illinois began to offer the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act  and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. Eligible undocumented students should apply every year.

The Undocumented Student Project Fund

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

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. Northeastern awarded the first Aspire Scholarship in Academic Year 2014-2015.

External scholarships

Northeastern Illinois University is a proud partner of TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for DREAMers.

A logo in blue and red that reads: National Scholarship, a Program of TheDream.us

The National Scholarship Award is for high school or community college students who have DACA, TPS, or came to the U.S. before Nov. 1, 2015, and otherwise meet the DACA eligibility requirements.

The scholarship covers tuition and fees up to a maximum of $16,500 for an associate degree and $33,000 for a bachelor’s degree at one of 70+ Partner Colleges.

Some recipients also receive an additional stipend of up to $1,000 per year for books, supplies and transportation.

Find more information and apply at TheDream.US. Application closes Feb. 25, 2021.

The Illinois Dream Fund

Community Services Block Grant Scholarship 

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education (ILACHE)

Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Scholarship (CHCI) (Internships and fellowships)

Dennis De La Rosa Scholarship

United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) (National Scholarship Directory)

Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation (ILLCF)

Fiesta del Sol Guadalupe A. Reyes Scholarship

DACA Scholars (On the App Store)

P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans (For graduate students)


On-campus jobs are not only a means of covering some of the cost of tuition, books and other expenses each semester but also a great way to make connections and gain valuable experience. Certain on-campus jobs, including Student Aide, Graduate Assistant and Extra Help, are open to all students who are enrolled at least half time and have eligibility to work in the United States. If you have been approved for DACA, you’re eligible to work in the U.S., which means, you’re eligible to apply for Student Aide and Extra Help positions. However, undocumented students are not eligible to participate in federally funded programs. So, even if you have DACA, you are not eligible for Work Study positions. If you have been approved for DACA and have questions about employment options on and off campus, please contact the Undocumented Student Resources Director at undocuresources@neiu.edu