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Resources for Non-U.S. Citizens

Non-U.S. citizens planning to attend college can find information and assistance through the following:

Illinois DREAM Act

(2014-15 application period is now closed.)

On August 1, 2011, Governor Quinn signed the Illinois DREAM Act, contained in SB 2185 (Cullerton/Acevedo). Designed to make scholarships, college savings, and prepaid tuition programs available to undocumented students who graduated from Illinois high schools, the Act creates an Illinois DREAM Fund, and a nine-member Illinois DREAM Commission, appointed by the Governor with Senate consent.

The DREAM Fund Commission will raise contributions for the Illinois DREAM Fund, establish a not-for-profit entity to administer the Fund, publicize the availability of scholarships from the DREAM Fund, and select recipients.  The DREAM Fund Commission will also be responsible for researching issues pertaining to access and success of children of immigrants in higher education.  They will also develop and run training programs for high school counselors and admissions and financial aid staff.  Professional development activities for high school counselors will be required to include information on undocumented students’ opportunities in postsecondary education.

In order to receive a scholarship from the DREAM Fund, a student will have to meet the same requirements that now apply to receiving an in-state tuition rate at one of Illinois’s public universities: In addition to having at least one parent who immigrated to the U.S., the student must have lived with a parent or guardian while going to high school in Illinois, graduated from that high school or received a GED, and attended school in Illinois for at least three years before graduating or receiving a GED certificate.

The Illinois DREAM Act also makes the State’s 529 college savings and prepaid tuition programs available to Illinoisans with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, regardless of whether they have social security numbers.  This means that those undocumented Illinoisans with ITINs will be allowed to participate in both the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program and the Bright Start and Bright Directions college savings plans.