Undocumented Students


 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced a new policy allowing undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children the opportunity to avoid deportation.  The new policy, commonly referenced as 'Deferred Action', will allow undocumented immigrants under 30 to apply for two-year deferrals excluding them from deportation, so long as they meet criteria similar to provisions found in the DREAM Act, including being a student, high school graduate or veteran of the armed forces or Coast Guard. Unlike the DREAM Act, which would give people under the age of 35 a path to citizenship, the new policy would not provide any increased opportunity to obtain legal permanent resident status.  For more information, please see the Department of Homeland Security’s website. 

The Department of Homeland Security began accepting applications for Deferred Action on August 15, 2012. DACA status, if approved, must be renewed every two years.

Resources from the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS)

How to Apply for DACA

How to Renew DACA

How to Apply for/Renew DACA - Video​

DACA Toolkit for Community Partners

Frequently Asked Questions 

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services: 1-800-375-5283  

Resources from the Department of Education

Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth​ - a comprehensive guide to how schools, colleges, counselors, educators, and others can support undocumented students throughout their educational careers. The Guide includes information on DACA eligibility and application, state college admission and tuition policies, private scholarships, education records, and more.

Educational Services for Immigrant Children & Those Recently Arrived to the United States​ - geared toward recently arrived children from Central America and Mexico, but contains valuable information regarding educational resources and rights for all immigrant children, regardless of arrival date or circumstance. Fact Sheet I and Fact Sheet II​ answer frequently asked questions.

Educational Resources for New Arrivals & DACA Students - contains resources for K-12, higher education, DACA, adult students, migrant students, Hispanic students, and Asian American &Pacific Islander students

Financial Aid and Undocumented Students: Q&A​ - Office of Federal Student Aid resource to help undocumented/DACA students understand and navigate the financial aid process

Resources from Immigration Advocates Network

What Is DACA? - informational flyer

¿Qué es DACA? - folleto informativo


Scholarships Available for DACA and TPS Students

​TheDream.US has scholarship funds available for students who qualify for DACA or TPS status. Applications are being accepted from September 1 through October 12, 2014. Students must either be first-time college students or community college students looking to transfer to a four-year university. For more information on student requirements and to see the list of participating higher education institutions, visit TheDream.US website​.

Resources from the National Education Association (NEA)
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Back to School Guide for Educators


 Knowledge Center

Unlocked resources from NACAC's Knowledge Center
Financial Aid and Undocumented Students: Q&A​
"Hija, You Must Go to College": College Admission Resources for Latino Communities
College Advising Guide for Undocumented Students
Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth, A Guide for Success in Secondary and Postsecondary Settings​ (US Department of Education, 2015)
Immigrants know your rights
Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students Summary Sheet
A Portrait of Undocumented Students in the United States
State Policies Regarding Undocumented Students (Last updated: 2011)
Undocumented Students in the US: Admission and Verification
College Choice Process of Latino Undocumented Students
Helping Unauthorized Students in the Face of Challenging Times
Immigration: What Teens Need to Know
Immigracion: Lo Que Los Jovenes Deberian Saber
Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth
Undocumented Resource Guide
Undocumented Student University Resources (Last Updated 1/2013)

 DREAM Act and Policy Resources

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a narrowly tailored legislative remedy for a specific population: undocumented students who were brought to the United States as minors, and have attended and completed elementary and secondary education in the US. The Supreme Court ruled in Plyer v. Doe (1982) that these students are not to be held liable for their immigration status and therefore are entitled to public elementary and secondary education. However, current law does not provide clear paths to citizenship or higher education for these students following high school graduation. The DREAM Act would provide those paths. The DREAM Act does not require states to provide any benefits to undocumented students, nor does it make these students eligible for federal financial aid.

NACAC supports the DREAM Act as a college access initiative, and has been working on its passage since 2001.


Key Resource: See a list of supporters of the DREAM Act in the 112th Congress:



Note: The current session is the 113th Congress. The DREAM Act has not been reintroduced in the 113th Congress because similar provisions have been included in S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.  NACAC is supporting those provisions similar to the DREAM Act.
House of Representatives 



Inside Higher Ed: Op-ed from NACAC Director of Public Policy and Research David Hawkins

DREAM Act of 2011: S 952 - Introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

HR 1842 - Introduced by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA-28)

Senator Durbin's DREAM Act Hearing

U.S. Departments of Justice and Education: Letter to All School Districts Reminding of Federal Obligation to Offer Educational Opportunities to All Children Residing in Their District

White House: Blueprint for Immigration Reform: Building a 21st Century Immigration System

American Association of State Colleges and Universities: State Policies Regarding Undocumented College Students: A Narrative of Unresolved Issues, Ongoing Debate and Missed Opportunities

White House: The DREAM Act: Good for Our Economy, Good for Our Security, Good for Our Nation 

National Immigration Law Center: Just the Facts: Five Things You Should Know About The DREAM Act

Links to Committees and Organizations

Senate Judiciary Committee

House Judiciary Committee