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Improve Access to Higher Education for Non-US Citizens

, | January 25, 2024 | By

Picture this: you’re a high school student, excited to begin your next chapter at a college or university. You know college is expensive, so you begin the process to apply for federal financial aid. You get to the part of the form where they ask for your social security number, and your parents tell you that you don’t have one. Because you’re undocumented. 

For many undocumented students in the US, this scenario is an unfortunate reality. Brought to the US by their parents when they were young, they are ineligible for federal financial aid and in some states, they don’t even qualify for in-state tuition. And many don’t even know they are undocumented until they start the college application process. 

But thanks to new programs put in place in states like Massachusetts, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, and others, many undocumented students now have a path to access funding to help them pursue their dreams of pursuing a post-secondary degree. 

“Colorado Governor Jared Polis supports all Colorado students in their efforts to pursue a path beyond high school. This is a culmination of that support, giving our students greater access to an affordable postsecondary education or training experience. We’re pleased to see so many students applying for this state aid and we encourage more students to take advantage of the program,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE).

Eliminating Manual Processes to Support Enrollment Growth
According to a study by the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, there are more than 450,000 undocumented students enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide. And while these students are ineligible for federal financial aid such as Pell grants and student loans, many states are introducing new programs that allow undocumented students to apply for state financial aid. 

But today, the process to apply for state aid is cumbersome. Manual, paper-based forms are frustrating for students and their families and inefficient for financial aid staff, adding additional responsibility to their already demanding workloads. To eliminate enrollment barriers, institutions need to automate and simplify the process so it’s more accessible to the students who need it most. 

Delivering a FAFSA-Like Experience with Regent Access
Regent Education helps colleges and universities eliminate manual, paper-based forms and processes so that non-US citizens can easily apply for the state aid they need to fulfill their educational goals. Using Regent Access, students who are not US citizens can apply for state financial aid via a user-friendly, responsive online experience that mirrors the FAFSA. 

In production in five states including Colorado, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington, with Massachusetts soon to follow, no other solution on the market matches Regent Access' ability to support the process for undocumented students to apply for state financial aid. Not only does it minimize the time and resources required to process state financial aid applications, but it also gives non-US citizens an intuitive, automated experience that takes them one step closer to submitting an application and attaining a higher education degree. 

“This partnership is another example of ways in which Virginia is extending equitable access to qualified students. Making financial aid available to these students will lead to more students gaining the credentials they need to improve not only their lives but those of generations to come", said Peter Blake, Agency Director, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

An implementation is quick, too. In as little as 60 days of licensing, institutions can be up and running with an automated, online, FAFSA-like experience that makes accessing state aid easier for students and families. 

Using Regent Access’ robust online application, states, as well as individual institutions in states without a centralized, statewide application for undocumented students, can minimize the amount of time and resources required to process state financial aid applications for undocumented students, helping students get one step closer to attaining a higher education degree.

Want to learn more about how Regent Access can help your institution eliminate enrollment barriers for non-US citizens? Let’s chat!