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Illegal Immigrants and College

College/Career Expert Advice from Carol Carter

Q: Can an adult who is an illegal immigrant go to college? If so, are there any colleges in the New York metro area that accept illegal immigrants who can pay their own tuition?

A: It isn't against the law for an illegal immigrant to enroll in a university; however, he won't be eligible for financial aid. What usually happens is that once a person is accepted into the university, the office sends him an I-20 form to have processed at the consulate office in his native country. This will help the student get a visa. However, if the student is already in the United States illegally, he isn't eligible for this visa. Depending on the school, you may or may not be able to attend. Call up schools that you are interested in and find out what their policy is. A lot of information is available on the Internet, or you can call the colleges' foreign-student offices. It would also be a good idea for you to consult a lawyer to clear up specific questions and protect yourself.

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Carol Carter is the author of many books on college and career planning. She is the cofounder of Lifeskills, Inc., a nonprofit organization that encourages high-school students to explore their goals, career options, and the real world through part-time work and internships. She also gives workshops around the country on career exploration and other issues directly related to helping students succeed in college, career, and life.


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