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Who is an Undocumented Student?

Undocumented student refers to a student who is not a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, does not hold a visa to reside or study in the U.S., and has not applied for legal residency in the U.S. Within the large group of undocumented students, a subset of undocumented students have obtained Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by meeting certain guidelines. Although DACA does not provide lawful status for these students, recipients may obtain a work permit.

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 legal status when they are in high school. The University of Central Oklahoma welcomes all undergraduate and graduate applicants regardless of citizenship status.

Undocumented students, with or without DACA status, should follow the application procedure for undergraduate or graduate student status on the Undergraduate Admission website. Undocumented students should not apply as international students.

Undocumented Students and Higher Education

Based on HB 1084 passed in 2008, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education determined that undocumented students can receive in-state tuition if they meet certain criteria. The criteria are:

  • 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 such intent.

Undocumented Students and Financial Aid

Undocumented students are not eligible to receive federal 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.  

In Oklahoma, undocumented students are not eligible to receive state financial aid, including Oklahoma’s Promise, OTAG, or some tuition waivers. However, undocumented students may be eligible for various private and departmental scholarships. For additional information on finding scholarships for which undocumented students are eligible, go to the Aspiring Americans website.