Chapter 3

Maximizing Financial Aid for Foster Youth
Chapter 3 - Maximizing Financial Aid for Foster Youth
Senator José Peralta NYS DREAM Act

The New York State DREAM Act, which was established as a priority in the 2019/2020 budget, opened the door to New York State administered financial aid and scholarship programs for eligible students who are undocumented and maintain residence in the Empire State. This funding allows “Dreamers” to access TAP, Excelsior, or scholarships administered by HESC.

Overview of Scholarships and Grant Opportunities for Foster Youth

Applicants must first meet all of the eligibility requirements set forth by each grant or scholarship, with the exception of U.S. Citizenship or lawful residency (Green Card holder). To streamline the process, HESC has established a separate application for students who qualify as Dreamers. This one application is used for all New York State administered grants and scholarships. Undocumented students will not be asked for home addresses and will not be required to upload financial or tax information. Information submitted in the application is considered confidential, and will only be used by HESC and colleges to determine a student’s eligibility for grant and scholarship awards.

ELIGIBILITY

Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible for New York State administered grants and scholarships under the DREAM Act:

Scenario 1: Student’s Permanent State of Residency is New York

Student’s Documentation Status (Must meet at least 1 below)

  1. U-Visa – For noncitizen victims of physical or mental abuses (and their immediate family members) or assisting in prosecuting crimes.
  2. T-Visa – For noncitizen victims of human trafficking (and their immediate family members) or assisting in prosecuting trafficking cases.
  3. Temporary Protected Status (TPS), pursuant to the Federal Immigration Act of 1990.
  4. Undocumented Immigration Status (including DACA) – Lawful status either never existed or has ended.

Additional Application Criteria (Must meet at least 1 below)

  1. Student attended a NYS high school for 2 or more years; graduated from a NYS high school; AND is applying for an award for undergraduate study at a NYS college within 5 years of receiving a NYS high school diploma.
  2. Student attended a NYS high school for 2 or more years; graduated from a NYS high school; AND is applying for an award for graduate study at a NYS college within 10 years of receiving a NYS high school diploma.
  3. Student received a NYS high school equivalency diploma AND is applying for an award for undergraduate study at a NYS college within 5 years of receiving a NYS high school equivalency diploma. 
  4. Student received a NYS high school equivalency diploma, AND is applying for an award for graduate study at a NYS college within 10 years of receiving a NYS high school equivalency diploma.
  5. Student did NOT attend or graduate from a NYS high school; did NOT receive a NYS high school equivalency diploma; but is being charged the NYS in-state tuition rate at a SUNY or CUNY college for any reason. 
Scenario 2: Student’s Permanent Home is OUTSIDE of New York State

Student’s Documentation Status (Must meet at least 1 below)

  1. U.S. Citizen.
  2. Permanent, Lawful Resident (Green Card holder).
  3. A class of refugees paroled by the attorney general under his or her parole authority pertaining to the admission of aliens to the U.S. 
  4. U-Visa – For noncitizen victims of physical or mental abuses (and their immediate family members) or assisting in prosecuting crimes. 
  5. T-Visa – For noncitizen victims of human trafficking (and their immediate family members) or assisting in prosecuting trafficking cases. 
  6. Temporary Protected Status (TPS), pursuant to the Federal Immigration Act of 1990.
  7. Undocumented Immigration Status (including DACA) – Lawful status either never existed or has ended. 

Additional Application Criteria (Must meet at least 1 below)

  1. Student attended a NYS high school for 2 or more years; graduated from a NYS high school, AND is applying for an award for undergraduate study at a NYS college within 5 years of receiving a NYS high school diploma.
  2. Student attended a NYS high school for 2 or more years; graduated from a NYS high school, AND is applying for an award for graduate study at a NYS college within 10 years of receiving a NYS high school diploma.
  3. Student received a NYS high school equivalency diploma, AND is applying for an award for undergraduate study at a NYS college within 5 years of receiving a NYS high school equivalency diploma. 
  4. Student received a NYS high school equivalency diploma, AND is applying for an award for graduate study at a NYS college within 10 years of receiving a NYS high school equivalency diploma.
  5. Student did NOT attend or graduate from a NYS high school, did NOT receive a NYS high school equivalency diploma; but is being charged the NYS in-state tuition rate at a SUNY or CUNY college for any reason.