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Undocumented Students and DACA

According to the College Board, there are an estimated 65,000 undocumented students — children born abroad who are not U.S. citizens or legal residents — who graduate from U.S. high schools each year. These children are guaranteed an education in U.S. public schools through grade 12, but may face legal and financial barriers to higher education. 

We provide answers to the following frequently asked questions to assist students and their families as they make their college choice. 

  1. Can I attend college if I am a DACA or undocumented student? There is no federal or state law that prohibits the admission of undocumented immigrants to U.S. colleges, public or private. Federal or state laws do not require students to prove citizenship in order to enter U.S. institutions of higher education. Yet institutional policies on admitting undocumented students vary.  Antioch College does not consider national origin or Citizenship when considering applications for admission. The College, however, is not authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue the I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Students. The College, therefore, cannot consider applications from students requesting certification for the F-1 student visa at this time.
  2. Who are undocumented students?  Undocumented students are students who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or “eligible noncitizens.” Undocumented students are sometimes referred to as “Dreamers.” This term generally refers to undocumented youths who have lived in the United States from a very young age. The term “Dreamers” is derived from the legislation introduced in Congress and known as the “DREAM Act.” You can read more about the proposed “DREAM Act” at www.ed.gov/news/speeches/dream-act-testimony. Within the larger group of undocumented students, there is a subgroup of students who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  3. What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?​ DACA is the name used of a process announced by the Secretary of Homeland Security on June 15, 2012. Under this process, if you came to the United States as a child and meet several key guidelines, you may contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security, to request consideration of deferred action. “Deferred action” refers to a decision to defer (delay or put off) removal action of an individual. DACA may be granted by USCIS for a period of two years and may be renewed under certain circumstances. Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status; however, recipients of deferred action may obtain work authorization. General information about DACA: www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.
  4. Who is a DACA student?  A DACA student has received deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process. Most DACA students are also granted work authorization; and if a student has work authorization, the student may be eligible to obtain a Social Security number. (More information about obtaining a Social Security number is in Question C.1.) Thus, if a DACA student is granted deferred action and employment authorization, the student may be eligible for a Social Security number.  For more information about obtaining a Social Security number, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/deferred_action.pdf.
  5. As an undocumented student or DACA student, am I eligible for federal student aid? No. Undocumented students, including DACA students and Dreamers, are not eligible for federal student aid. Most states and colleges use information collected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to determine whether you are eligible for aid. If you have a Social Security number, you may complete the FAFSA, and we encourage you to do so at fafsa.gov. However, we first recommend that you check with your high school counselor or your college or career school financial aid office to see what types of financial aid you may be eligible to receive and whether completing the FAFSA is the way to apply for that aid. For questions about Antioch College merit and need-based aid, please contact the Office of Admission and Financial Aid 937-319-6082 or admission@antiochcollege.edu. Download the Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students (.pdf/1MB). 
  6. Does my parents’ citizenship status affect my eligibility for federal student aid? No. Your parents’ citizenship status does not affect your eligibility for federal student aid. In fact, the FAFSA doesn’t even ask about your parents’ status.
  7. If I share my status with the College, is that information protected? Colleges and universities are legally prevented from sharing personal information about their enrolled students unless the request is backed by a warrant. That includes requests from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Immigration status of students and their parents is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). There are exceptions; institutions may release information without written student or parent consent to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. Antioch College will not share information on the immigration status of any of its students with any local, state or federal officials unless required by subpoena or court order, or authorized by a student.  

Resources

Students are also encouraged to speak with College officials should they have additional questions. 

  • Prospective Students: Office of Admission and Financial Aid, admission@antiochcollege.edu, 937-319-6082  

  • Current Students: Office of the Dean of Students, studentlife@antiochcollege.edu, 937-319-6082

You may also visit these Web sites for more information on federal regulations:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: https://www.uscis.gov/archive/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca

  • U.S. Department of Education: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/financial-aid-and-undocumented-students.pdf

  • The College Board: https://professionals.collegeboard.org/guidance/financial-aid/undocumented-students