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Articles / Admissions / How Will Lack of US Citizenship Affect Admission/Aid Process?

May 6, 2020

How Will Lack of US Citizenship Affect Admission/Aid Process?

Question: My daughter is a straight A student, 98-100 average at top NYC HS. AP classes etc. She has a permanent residency card, but cannot apply for citizenship until she is 18, we expect her to be a citizen by freshman year but if there is a delay how will this effect chances getting into some colleges and financial aid which we will need? Thanks!

“The Dean” … who too often has to dole out bad news … is happy to give you good news this time: Permanent Residents and U.S. Citizens are treated the same when it comes to college admission and financial aid.

So, because your daughter holds a Green Card, you don’t have to worry about how a delay of her citizenship could affect her college process. Keep in mind, however, that the most sought-after colleges and universities turn away many strong students with credentials like hers, so all of these institutions should be considered “Reach” schools for everyone. But, if your daughter is not admitted to her top-choice schools, I promise you that it won’t be due to her citizenship status, and–if she creates a balanced college list–she should have many enviable acceptances and financial aid options.


Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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