Undocumented Student Resources
MY UNDOCUMENTED LIFE
The mission at My Undocumented Life is to provide up-to-date information and resources to undocumented students, their families, and allies (including educators, counselors, and administrators). They post scholarship opportunities that are open to undocumented students, strategies for navigating the educational system while undocumented, information on how to apply for DACA, key upcoming immigration-related events, news on immigration policies, and much more. Most importantly, they want to provide a sense of community to our diverse group of readers.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.
At NILC, they believe that all people who live in the U.S. should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Over the years, they’ve been at the forefront of many of the country’s greatest challenges when it comes to immigration issues, and they play a major leadership role in addressing the real-life impact of policies that affect the ability of low-income immigrants to prosper and thrive.
Click here to know your rights when it comes to encountering law enforcement, participating in demonstrations, and more.
HIGHER ED IMMIGRATION PORTAL
The Higher Education Immigration Portal is a new digital platform that integrates data, policies, and resources about DACA and undocumented, other immigrant, international, and refugee students to support immigration reform and federal policymaking, fuel change at the state and campus level, and build a diverse movement of partners and stakeholders advocating for these students.
DREAM PROJECT OF VIRGINIA
The Dream Project, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization registered in the state of Virginia, empowers students whose immigration status creates barriers to education by working with them to access and succeed in college through scholarships, mentoring, family engagement, and advocacy. The start-up nonprofit has created an intentionally inclusive community where students are encouraged to use education as a vehicle to pursue their dreams and achieve their fullest potential.
The UndocuBlack Network (UBN) is a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources, and contributes to transforming the realities of our people, so we are thriving and living our fullest lives.
They do this by:
Developing the leadership of our members through tools, training, and programming
Building power with and for our communities through advocacy, local organizing, and cultivating strategic alliances to advance policies that affect our daily lives.
Centering the humanity, dignity, and wellbeing of our communities in all aspects of our work.
UNITED WE DREAM
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led community in the country. They create welcoming spaces for young people – regardless of immigration status – to support, engage, and empower them to make their voice heard and win!
VIRGINIA COALITION OF LATINO ORGANIZATIONS (VACOLAO)
VACOLAO’s mission is to serve as a working alliance among organizations in Virginia that serve or support the interest of the Latino communities in order to empower the community and secure equal treatment, equal opportunity, and equal representation for Latinos/Hispanics in Virginia.
WE ARE CASA
CASA is a group of passionate, community-conscious people working to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for Latino and immigrant people in the state of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We do this by providing employment placement; workforce development and training; health education; citizenship and legal services; and financial, language, and literacy training to Latino and immigrant communities throughout the state.
Source: Higher Ed Immigration Portal
STAY MASON/STUDENT EMERGENCY FUNDING
Emergency funding is available to students who experience unexpected financial challenges, emergencies, or sudden financial hardships and meet the eligibility criteria outlined here.
Funding is not guaranteed and is not meant to provide long-term or full tuition relief. This funding is a last resort for students who need it most and should NOT be considered part of a student’s financial planning. Priority consideration will be given to students whose continued enrollment at George Mason University may be at risk because of unexpected and unforeseen events or expenses. Emergency funding is made possible through the generous support of George Mason University and donors committed to helping students as well as from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
DACA RENEWAL AWARD
In the event that a student faces a financial hardship related to the renewal of their DACA paperwork, they can receive $495 to renew their application. Applications will be available on an ongoing basis starting October 1, 2020 through June 1, 2021 and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students must request the application by emailing the Fund Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIRST GEN NEXT GEN SCHOLARSHIP
The First Gen Next Gen Scholarship is designed to provide temporary, short-term, financial assistance to degree-seeking first generation undergraduate and graduate students. The scholarship has a special focus on students struggling with financial obstacles due to barriers from immigration status. This scholarship is not intended to provide ongoing relief for recurring expenses. Financial assistance from the First Gen Next Gen Scholarship does not need to be repaid.
THE DREAM US SCHOLARSHIP
The Dream US Scholarships are for highly motivated DREAMers who want nothing more than to get a college education but are unable to afford the cost. They have no access to federal aid, limited access to state aid, and they sometimes face paying out-of-state tuition. They offer two scholarships:
- The National Scholarship is for high school or community college graduates.
- The Opportunity Scholarship is for students who live in targeted, locked-out states where they cannot get in-state tuition.
Your eligibility for both is based upon where you live.
Immigrants Rising empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation. Immigrant Rising’s List of Undergraduate Scholarships contains scholarships for undergraduate studies that don’t require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency. This up-to-date list, organized by deadline date, contains scholarships at the local (Bay Area), state and national level.
- Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
- Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
Click here to learn more.
IN-STATE TUITION FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS IN VA
Effective July 1, 2020, more students will be eligible to establish in-state domicile—and pay in-state tuition rates—at Virginia universities, regardless of immigration status if they show all of the following:
- The student attended a Virginia high school for at least two years;
- The student either graduated (public school, private school, or homeschool) from a Virginia high school, or got a Virginia GED, on or after July 1, 2008;
- Either the student or at least one parent/guardian has filed Virginia income taxes for the last two years; and
- The student is enrolling in a public college or university in Virginia.
Click here to learn more.
INTER-STATE TUITION AGREEMENTS (ITAS)
Substantial hurdles remain for undocumented students to access and graduate from higher education institutions. These hurdles include being barred from enrolling in public institutions in three states (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) and facing restrictions on accessing in-state tuition in five more states (Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin).
Inter-state tuition agreements (ITAs)offer students, who would otherwise be charged out-of-state tuition, access to an in-state tuition rate or a discounted tuition rate in a participating state. In-state tuition rates have been shown to increase enrollment of undocumented students, though do not address all the challenges facing undocumented students in higher education.
Click here to learn more.
VIRGINIA DRIVER PRIVILEGE CARD
A driver privilege card is a driving credential for individuals who are non-US citizens and cannot meet Virginia’s legal presence requirements, making them ineligible to receive a standard or REAL ID-compliant driver’s license in Virginia.
Beginning January 1, 2021 you may be eligible to obtain a driver privilege card if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a non-US citizen who is a resident of Virginia
- You have reported income from Virginia sources or are claimed as a dependent on a tax return filed in Virginia in the past 12 months
- Your driving privilege is not currently suspended or revoked in Virginia or any other state, to include insurance-related infractions.
Click here to learn more.
Click HERE to learn more.
IMMIGRANTS RISING: BASIC FACTS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
All immigrants regardless of immigration status are able to earn a living as independent contractors or start a business using an ITIN or SSN. As mandated by IRCA (federal law), an individual or entity (client) is NOT required to obtain Form I-9, or otherwise, inquire about immigration status from independent contractors or sporadic domestic workers. Federal Law prohibits an individual or entity from knowingly engaging an unauthorized individual to provide services as a contractor.
Learn the basics of becoming an entrepreneur HERE.
- integrating individual representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and organizing strategies.
- working in and with communities.
- identifying and addressing root causes while mitigating acute impacts.
- expanding impact in an effort to reach all Virginia communities.
NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER
The National Immigration Law Center is a center in the United States that “engages in policy analysis, litigation, education, and advocacy, to achieve [the] vision” of “a society in which all people—regardless of race, gender, immigration or economic status—are treated fairly and humanely.
Just Neighbors provides high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, asylees, and refugees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia; and builds community among clients, staff, volunteers, and the larger society through education, advocacy, and volunteerism.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES USA
Catholic Charities USA is a network of charities with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2005 Forbes magazine ranked it as the fifth largest charity in the United States in terms of total revenue. The organization serves millions of people a year, regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds.
Ayuda provides legal, social, and language services to help low-income immigrants in our neighborhoods access justice and transform their lives. Since 1973, we have served more than 100,000 low-income immigrants throughout Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
How do I finance college when undocumented?
- In the past, any undocumented immigrants have graduated from college. They have accomplished this by either paying out-of-state tuition, taking part-time classes.
- Community college is a great option; Explore pathway programs to 4-year schools after completing Associates Degree.
- Example: ADVANCE program (from NVCC to Mason)
Should DACAmented students complete FAFSA?
- In Virginia, undocumented students are not eligible for Federal Aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, DACA recipients may fill out FAFSA or an Alternative Needs Assessment Form to determine EFC score.
- Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)
- Need-based awards can be determined through FAFSA and Alternative Needs Assessment Form.
- Power of zeros
- If your parents do not have a Social Security Number, enter all zeros in the application (e.g., 000000000)
Do undocumented immigrants pay taxes?
- In 1996, the IRS created the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- ITINs are a tax processing number issued by the IRS for taxpayers who are not eligible to obtain SSNs
- Individuals eligible for an ITIN include:
- Unauthorized immigrants,
- Lawfully present individuals, and
- U.S. resident aliens/nonresident aliens
- According to the New American Economy, undocumented immigrants paid 3.9 billion dollars in taxes in the year 2018.
Do DACA recipients serve in the military?
- According to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), there are 800 DACA recipients serving in the military
- DACA recipients serve through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interests (MAVNI) program. This is a program for immigrants with certain critical skills to serve in.
- In 2016, the program was suspended by the Trump Administration and is under review