Financial Resources

Student with Books

It has been a rough journey at San José State, especially because of the financial barrier. I often wish I could focus on my education instead of having to balance it with work, scholarship applications and family. Nothing has been handed down to me, and at times things get complicated and difficult, but I know why I am here.

—Undocumented SJSU Student

In addition to applying and receiving privately funded scholarships, many students at San José State have also turned to other forms of financing their education. The following is a list of ways that AB 540 students have used to pay for school. Please note that as part of immigration laws and regulations, individuals in the United States are required to have the proper documentation to legally be employed in this country.


The following is a list of websites that have been known to provide scholarships that do not require legal residency or citizenship.

Student Advocates for Higher Education

For information on SAHE's scholarship, please contact Dr. Julia Curry.

Chicana Latina Foundation

Each year the Chicana Latina Foundation awards merit-based scholarships to Latina college students, valued at $1,500 dollars each.

National Associates for Chicana and Chicano Studies: Immigrant Student Beca

NACCS offers scholarships for immigrant students who are committed to furthering the well being of Chicanas and Chicanos. Applicants must be members of NACCS, be enrolled in an accredited degree-granting institution and be an immigrant of Chicana/o heritage. The NACCS Immigrant Student Beca Fund was founded in 2008 to help Chicana and Chicano college students complete their education. The scholarships are available on a competitive basis for community college, four-year college, and graduate students. Awards range from $100 to $500.

Ernesto Galarza Scholarship

The Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association (CLFSA) of San José State University sponsors the annual Dr. Ernesto Galarza Scholarship as means of honoring Dr. Galarza's scholarly commitment and contributions to the Chicano/Latino community and to foster that same commitment in our youth. These scholarships are given in collaboration with local community groups to assist students in their pursuit of higher education at San José State University. The CLFSA gives these scholarships in honor of Dr. Galarza to address some of the barriers students face in their endeavors to succeed in higher education. The Dr. Ernesto Galarza Institute, a community-based organization, provides scholarships to incoming transfer students from SJCC, EVC, or NHU.


Excellent starting point for scholarships available to AB 540 students. Scholarships are categorized by major, school, gender, and location. Download the list of the 2010-2011 scholarships.

Educators for Fair Consideration (e4fc)

A list of over 100 scholarships that do not require a social security number. Download a description of each scholarship.

Other Financial Resources

Independent Contractor Work

As independent contractors, students have provided their services to businesses, corporations, and organizations under a specified contract or verbal agreement, a form of work that allows individuals to use their ITIN. Please note that as contractors, individuals may be required to obtain business licenses and meet other requirements under city and county laws.

Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund is a non-profit organization that offers grants to students of up to $4,000 to be used towards tuition, books, or a computer. The grant, which receives funds from the government and private foundations, is called the Individual Development Account (IDA). Student and other individuals eligible under this program are provided with financial training and a bank account that allows them to save money that is then matched by Opportunity Fund.


AB 540 students have obtained funding for their education in the form of stipends offered by college and universities as well as private institutions and organizations. Stipends are a form of wage or salary, to perform work under a voluntary, internship, or apprenticeship position.


Students on campus have written individual letters and/or set up meetings to request monetary support from business owners, former professors, and other professionals, many of whom are often willing to provide financial assistance to students in pursuit of higher education. For the convenience of students and donors, the Bursar's or Financial Aid office on campus accepts donations directly from donors to cover tuition costs or to distribute the funds to the student for use towards books or other school related expenses.


Students have raised money by collaborating with other individuals in organizing fundraisers such as: car washes, food sales, or television tapings.

Consignment/Antique Stores

Under this option, students have worked together with store owners to allow the sale of their own products and maintained ownership and profits of the goods sold.

Ways to Save Money While Pursuing Your Education

Live at home with your parents.

No matter how cheap your rent is when you move out, it will be cheaper if you live with your parents.

Recycle your textbooks, sell your used ones, and buy used books.

There are websites where you can rent books or buy used ones. Websites such as and are some examples. Selling your books to other undocumented students is another option that not only benefits yourself, but also the student purchasing the used book. They will appreciate the sale of your book, and in return, you are paid more than what you may have received through the bookstore.

Do not enroll in classes you do not need.

It is sometimes difficult to decide what major to pursue. We recommend that you make a decision before transferring to a university. Enrolling in classes that that don't count toward graduation can increase the cost of your education.