Welcome!  Governors State University values the diversity of our students, and we strive to provide an equitable learning experience where all students have the opportunity to thrive.

The Immigration Policy Center has found that most college-bound undocumented students:

  • have lived in the United States most of their lives 
  • have been brought to the United States by their parents at a young age 
  • have attended elementary, middle, and high school in the United States 
  • have excelled academically in high school and want to pursue a college education 
  • currently lack a way to become legal residents or citizens of the United States 

Undocumented access to higher education is an issue that continues to challenge students, parents, high school counselors and college admission officers. There is no federal law that prohibits colleges or universities from offering admission to undocumented students; however, access to higher education is limited by restrictions on financial aid eligibility. In order to better serve our undocumented student population we have compiled the following resources.  

Governors State University admits students regardless of undocumented status. Undocumented students follow the same admission procedures as all potential Governors State applicants. The undocumented status has no effect on admissions, which is based on the student’s academics and examination scores. 

Students must complete the GSU Admission Process in order to petition for in-state residency.

  • RISE Act / Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid


    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 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.



  • Financial Resources


    Undocumented students are not eligible to receive federal or state financial aid. However, undocumented students may qualify for other types of financial assistance such as private scholarships from communities and national organizations that do not require a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be on file.


    Private Scholarships 

    Private scholarships for undocumented students are highly competitive and limited.  We encourage students to contact individual scholarship committees/organization to ask if they are willing to accept an undocumented student’s application if all other requirements are met. 


    Illinois Dream Fund 

    Illinois passed the Illinois Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act) which establishes a scholarship fund for qualified undocumented students funded entirely by private donations. In order to qualify for the Illinois DREAM fund scholarship, an applicant must:

    Be incoming freshmen or current undergraduate or transfer student

    1. Possess at least a 2.5 GPA on a 4 point scale 
    2. Have resided with parent(s) or guardian(s) while attending high school in Illinois 
    3. Have graduated from a high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma (GED) in Illinois; after attending an Illinois high school for at least three years. 

    Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund  

    MALDEF is a Latino legal civil rights organization promoting social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. It currently offers a Scholarship Resource Guide for high school, college, and graduate students. 


  • Additional Resources


    Dream Act
    The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors or DREAM Act has been proposed in federal and California state legislatures. The goal of the DREAM act has been to increase higher education opportunities for undocumented students. Students must meet the following criteria:

     Arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16,

    • Have lived in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years, 
    • Graduated from a high school or obtained a GED,
    • And demonstrated good moral character. 

    Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed the Illinois DREAM act into state law on August 1, 2011. 



    1. It allows anyone with an individual taxpayer identification number, including undocumented students, to participate in the State Treasurer’s College Savings Pool and the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Plan. These programs allow families of DREAM youths to plan ahead and invest and save for their children’s college education.
    2. High School college counselors are required to be trained and prepared to know what college options are available for undocumented students and children of immigrants. This requirement will ensure that undocumented students will receive correct information about opportunities available to them after high school. Training will be incorporated into existing counselor training sessions.
    3. It requires the Illinois Assistance Commission to establish an Illinois DREAM Fund Commission administered by volunteers of the state, who are appointed by Governor Quinn. The Illinois DREAM Fund Commission will establish scholarships for qualified undocumented students. The scholarships will be funded entirely by private donations and contributions. 


    1. It does NOT offer legal permanent status.
    2. It is NOT a path towards citizenship.
    3. It does NOT allow students to legally work in their field upon graduation. 


    A student must:

    1. Have resided with parents or guardians while attending high school in Illinois, 
    2. Have attended a high school in Illinois for at least 3 years up to the time of graduation or receiving the equivalent of a high school diploma (such as GED),
    3. Have at least one parent who immigrated to the United States. 

    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

    Created by memorandum on June 15, 2012 and implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, DACA directs the use of prosecutorial discretion towards qualifying individuals who illegally immigrated to the United States as children. Deferred action means to defer removal of these individuals from the United States. Qualifying individuals will be granted deferred action for two years, subject to renewal, and be eligible for work authorization. However, deferred action does not give the applicant lawful immigration status nor provide a path to citizenship.

    Individuals may be eligible for DACA if:

    1.  They arrived in the United States before turning 16 years old; 
    2. They were under 31 years old on June 15, 2012;
    3. They were physically present on June 15, 2012 (the day this directive went into effect) and on the day that they submit their application to USCIS;
    4. They have continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007 through the present;
    5. They entered the United States without inspection before June 15, 2012 or their lawful immigration status expired before June 15, 2012;
    6. They are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a high school equivalency certificate (GED) or have been honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces or the Coast Guard; and 
    7. They have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors and they do not pose a threat to national security or public safety. 


    On January 27, 2013, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law legislation to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain temporary driver’s licenses. Under the law undocumented immigrants who cannot obtain temporary driver’s licenses may apply as long as they meet the following requirements:

    • Have lived in Illinois for a year
    • Apply at a designated facility
    • Pass vision, written and road examinations
    • Carry auto insurance
    • Have proof of insurance
    • Pay a fee

    The temporary driver’s license is valid for driving only and may not be used as identification. The license is valid for a period of three years.


    Time is of essence when a student has been detained by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) or arrested.

    If you are stopped by the Police:
    Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions.
    Do not argue with the officer.
    Do not run. Do not touch the officer.
    Do not resist even if you believe that you are wrongfully stopped.
    Do not sign anything giving up your rights.
    Do not falsely claim U.S. citizenship.
    Do not carry false documents.
    Do not sign any documents without first speaking with a lawyer.
    Remember that once a conversation with a police officer is terminated, the officer must either arrest you or let you go.
    Ask for a lawyer immediately after you are arrested.
    Undocumented persons should remain silent or tell the ICE agent that they want to remain silent.

    Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, the DHS may deport you before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge.
    Talk to a lawyer. If possible, carry with you the name and telephone number of an immigration attorney who will take your calls.

    The immigration laws are complicated. There may be options for you that immigration officers will not explain to you. You do not have the right to a governmental appointed lawyer for an immigration proceeding, but if you have been arrested, immigration officials must show you a list of free or low-cost legal service providers.


  • Community Resources


    United African Organization


    World Relief


    Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights


    Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education


    ENLACE Chicago


    Logan Square Neighborhood Association


    Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund


    National Immigrant Justice Center


    Educators for Fair Consideration


    Pew Hispanic Center


    Urban Institute


    Korean American Resource and Cultural Center


    Latinos Progresando


    Legal Assistance Foundation


    Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago


    AFIRE Chicago



  • FAQs for Undocumented students


    1. Do I have to be a citizen to be admitted to Governors State?

    No, citizenship status is not a requirement for admission. All information you share with the university is confidential according to the Family Educational and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines.


    The Governors State University application asks for a Social Security number. What should I write?

    You should leave that question blank. A student GSU ID number will still be generated with your application.


    2. Will I be reported to immigration if I attend Governors State University?

     No, under the Family Educational and Privacy Act (FERPA) your privacy is protected.


    3. Can I apply for financial aid?

    You are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid. In order to be eligible for FAFSA, a student must be a 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 Batter immigrant. You should look to private scholarships. 

    Students who have been approved for DACA are still considered undocumented. It is important to remember that social security numbers and work authorization provided by DACA do not change the admissions process and do not make a student eligible for federal financial aid. 


    4. Am I eligible for Governors State Scholarships?

    Yes, but you must meet the scholarship criteria. 


    If I am a transfer student do I still need to submit my high school transcripts?

    Yes, in order to satisfy the requirements of Public Act 93-0007 you must submit official high school transcripts. 

    5. Are there certain majors that I should not consider?

    There may be some majors that will require you to sit for a state exam and you will need to have a valid social security number. You should consult with the Major Program Advisor for requirements.


    6. I’ve been approved for DACA. Now that I have a work permit, can I work on campus?

    Certain on-campus jobs 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.


    7. What happens if I am admitted to Governors State as an undocumented student, but the I am finally able to get my permanent resident card?

    You should submit this new information to the Admission Office. this could help you qualify for federal assistance.