Posted on March 1, 2019

N.J. Gave 500 Undocumented Immigrants Tuition Money

Kelly Heyboer,, February 28, 2019

For the first time, undocumented immigrants in New Jersey are getting some help from taxpayers in paying their college tuition.

A total of 513 immigrants living in the country illegally received $1.6 million last fall through a new state program that offers them the same college financial aid offered to U.S. citizens living in New Jersey, according to statistics released by the state Higher Education Assistance Authority.

The program is the result of a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last year that makes New Jersey one of less than a dozen states in the nation offering college aid to so-called “Dreamers,” who have been living in the U.S. illegally since they were children.


{snip} Of the 655 unauthorized immigrants who were approved for state aid, 513 actually enrolled in New Jersey colleges and received their grants.

The average student received about $3,168 in financial aid during the fall semester under the new program, state officials said. The majority received Tuition Aid Grants and other aid designed for low-income students.

Where are they going to college? New data released by HESSA shows the undocumented students are spread around the state — though one university enrolls far more than any other school.


Rutgers University
Number of students: 150
Total aid awarded: $623,109


Several other colleges, including Princeton University, had no undocumented students receiving aid in the first semester of the new program, according to the state data.


Who is eligible?

The program allows New Jersey students living in the country illegally to apply for college financial aid if they meet the following criteria:

  • Attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years
  • Graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey
  • Male students have registered for the Selective Service
  • The student signs an affidavit stating they will file an application to legalize their immigration status if and when they are eligible

Under federal law, undocumented immigrant children can already attend public K-12 schools. In 2013, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation allowing unauthorized immigrants to pay in-state tuition at New Jersey’s public colleges.