At Berkeley Law, we are proud to welcome and support undocumented students. Although undocumented students are not eligible for federal student aid, they may be eligible for other forms of aid under certain criteria. Financial aid for the J.D. program at Berkeley Law is mainly comprised of federal loans and institutional aid. Currently the state aid for undocumented students through Berkeley remains restricted to undergraduates only who meet certain criteria.
We are dedicated to providing you the resources and options available to pursue your education in law. Please see more information below:
**New** For a limited period of time, the University of California can extend non-State financial aid to undocumented students who do not qualify for AB540 Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) exemptions, an opportunity previously that was unavailable before July 1, 2019.
Frequently Asked Questions
A good starting point is to review the Eligibility Chart which shows funding eligibility for graduate students who may meet AB540¹ and/or DACA² criteria, as well as eligibility for undocumented students who meet neither AB540 nor DACA criteria.
¹Students who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents of California, as well as undocumented students, may be eligible for AB540 status. http://ucop.edu/student-affairs/policies/universitywide-program-policies-and-guidelines/AB540.html#bi_3
²Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides certain undocumented young people with work authorization for a period of two years, subject to renewal. https://www.uscis.gov/archive/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca
Prior to July 1, 2019, to apply for gift aid (merit and need-based), documentation of lawful presence or AB540 eligibility was required. However, beginning fall 2019 undocumented students without AB540 may qualify for certain forms of institutional gift aid. All students pursuing the J.D. degree at Berkeley Law should review the information on the Entering Student Gift Aid page to apply. Please note that the selection criteria used to extend this eligibility will not be based solely on the lack of legal presence documentation. Rather, consideration for gift aid will be determined using the same criteria applied for all other applicants. Additionally, aid awarded under these circumstances cannot be guaranteed for enrollment periods beyond June 30, 2021 due to the sunset provision included in the California State Budget for 2019-20.
Students who are not U.S. Citizens or eligible non-citizens are not eligible for any federal aid such as federal educational loans.
Private student loans may be the next best option if you are not eligible for federal student loans. Most private lenders will require the applicant to be a u.s. citizen/eligible non-citizen to be considered, however, some lenders now offer loans to students with DACA so long as they have an eligible U.S. based cosigner. Inquire with lenders directly. Students are encouraged to carefully explore all private loan options available to them by searching online. Private lenders will have varying qualifications, loan terms and loan maximums.
The Berkeley Law Financial Aid Office does not receive, and will not accept, inducements from lenders in exchange for inclusion on the International Loans information page, nor does the Berkeley School of Law share in the profits from student loans.
To apply for federal work-study, you must be an eligible non-citizen (ex. permanent resident, etc.)
UC Berkeley maintains a scholarships database. You may be able to find scholarships for which you qualify using the provided filtering options.
Not all organizations have particular citizenship requirements. Please see the Berkeley Law outside agency scholarships resource, where you can find scholarships for undocumented and/or DACA eligible students, such as the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship.
Yes under certain conditions. Please see eligibility chart above and visit the Office of Registrar’s tuition exemptions webpage.
Undocumented Student Program University of California *Please note, most of this information may pertain to undergraduates unless otherwise stated. Please let us know if you have any questions.
California Dream Act Application (CDAA) information – The California Dream Act Application allows students interested in attending eligible California Colleges, Universities and Career Education Programs to apply for state financial aid. This application is unrelated to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Please note, Berkeley Law financial aid is not determined by the CDAA. UC Berkeley campus may use this application to determine eligibility for institutional loans or aid, depending on academic year. Eligible students are encouraged to apply.
California Dream Loan – Authorized by the SB1210, The California Dream Loan is a low-interest subsidized loan for AB540 students with financial need who meet all other financial aid eligibility requirements.
Income Generation Options for Undocumented Students Toolkit – An inclusive toolkit that provides income generation options to UC students and alumni, with or without work
Immigrants Rising Pre-Law Fund-Immigrants Rising’s Pre-Law Fund will provide financial support of up to $2,500 to low-income immigrants who are planning to attend law school. Grants will cover LSAT preparation (courses, tutoring, self-study materials, etc) and law school application fees. In addition to financial support, recipients will be connected to Immigrants Rising’s network of legal professionals.
List of graduate student scholarships not requiring proof citizenship or permanent residency status.
List of graduate fellowships not requiring proof of citizenship or permanent residency status.