Seventeen-year-old Arthur Mkoyan's 4.0 grade-point average qualified him to enter one of the state's top universities. But he and his mother have been ordered back to Armenia after their last appeal for asylum failed.
The family fled from what used to be part of the Soviet Union and has been seeking asylum since 1992.
A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement says they were given an extension until June 20 so Mkoyan could attend his graduation ceremony.
A federal bill called the DREAM Act that would have given some high-performing illegal immigrants legal status to attend college stalled last year in Congress.