Undocumented and DACA Student Resources
We are here to ensure that you are welcomed to our campus and feel like you are part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln community. We understand that some students have their own challenges, and our goal is to guide your way to success.
What does it mean?
What does it mean to be undocumented?
There are a few ways that someone can become undocumented, here are the following:
- Entered the U.S. with some sort of immigration status that has since expired.
- Entered the U.S. without inspection.
- Submitted an immigration application/petition that has been denied, yet continued to remain in the U.S.
- Lived in the U.S. for most of their lives but lack a way to become a legal resident or citizen of the U.S.
What is DACA?
DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a policy that protects around 800,000 young people — known as “DREAMers” — who entered the United States unlawfully as children. The program does not grant them official legal status or a pathway to citizenship, but it does allow them to apply for a driver’s license, social security number, and work permit. President Trump repeatedly tried to dismantle the program, established by President Barack Obama in 2012. A federal judge ruled in December 2020 that first-time DACA applicants were permitted to apply after the Trump administration stopped accepting new applications. He also extended the renewal period to two years, from one year.
Applicants must meet the following major DACA requirements:
- Entered the United States unlawfully prior to their 16th birthday
- Have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007
- Were under age 31 on June 15, 2012 (born on June 16, 1981, or after)
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012
- Have completed high school or a GED, have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or are enrolled in school
- Have not been convicted of a felony or a serious misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
Immigrants up to the age of 31 can file for the protections and opportunities this program offers.
UNL AdmissionsAny information that you provide to UNL Admissions is kept confidential.
Can I attend UNL if I am undocumented and/ or a DACA recipient?
Yes, all are welcome. UNL is committed to providing a high-quality education to all qualified students, regardless of background – including citizenship status. To apply, visit admisssions.unl.edu. For the Citizenship portion, and as for the Status part, click on “Other” which will include both DACA and Undocumented students.
As an undocumented student, what is my tuition status at UNL?
State legislation under Legislative Bill 239 (2006) allows the University of Nebraska to grant in-state tuition classification to undocumented students. For help or additional information, contact CJ Kracl at email@example.com from the UNL Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Do not disclose your status in email conversations, call the office to talk to a Recruitment Specialist or CJ at 4024297067.
Attention to out-of-state students, when you are putting your country of origin: “Not listed”
Note that there is no addendum needed.
What is the Nebraska Dream Act?
Students residing in Nebraska and fulfilling the requirements stated below are allowed to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities of Nebraska. Legislative Bill 239 of the 99th Nebraskan Legislature, which became law on July 13, 2006.
Undocumented students must:
- Reside in Nebraska for at least three years prior to high school graduation/obtaining a GED.
- Graduate from a Nebraska public or private high school or obtain a GED.
- Live with a parent or guardian while attending high school.
- Be registered as an entering college student no earlier than the 2006 fall semester.
- Provide an affidavit stating their intention to become a permanent resident at their earliest opportunity. If the parent ceases to reside in Nebraska, the student can retain resident status if the student has a bona fide intention to reside in Nebraska
Can I enroll in a graduate program as an undocumented and/ or a DACA recipient?
The application process is the same for all applicants, regardless of immigration/citizenship status. Application requirements vary according to the program to which the student applies – requirements for individual programs are listed on the program summary pages linked on Graduate Studies website. Graduate Studies provides an overview of tuition and fees on our website. Detailed tuition and fees are available on the Student Accounts website. Undocumented students would not be eligible for assistantships, because they do not have authorization to work in the U.S. DACA students should have work authorization as part of their status, so they are eligible for assistantships.
If you have any other questions about enrolling in a graduate program, feel free to contact Angela Bryan, at firstname.lastname@example.org
As an undocumented student/DACA recipient, can I have access to private scholarships and funding?
Yes. Although you do not have access to state or federal financial aid, you do have access to private donor scholarships if you meet their eligibility requirements.
Juan N. Franco Legacy Scholarship
Applications open each Spring for the following Fall
These are scholarships and financial aid available to students regardless of immigration status
Other FAQs from Financial Aid
How to fill out FAFSA as an Undocumented Student
Any student who does have an SSN should complete a FAFSA.
- The FAFSA does not require the citizenship status of the applicant's parents but does request their SSNs. Applicants must write in “000-00-0000” as the SSN for any parent or legal guardian who is undocumented.
- Applicants will encounter the following question: “Are you a U.S. citizen?” Undocumented students must check the box for “No, I am not a citizen or eligible noncitizen.”
- The form also features questions about the “legal state of residence” for the applicant and their parents. The correct answer will vary, as each U.S. state has different requirements for legal state residency. Applicants should consult their high school career counselor before completing this section.
- The online FAFSA form features an IRS Data Retrieval tool that allows applicants to submit their tax information and that of their parents. If the applicant or their parents did not file an income tax return during the previous year, then tax information may be entered manually.