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    Dreamers and Undocumented Students

    UC and CSU Application, Nuances, and Issues


    Since the passing of California state laws that made attending a UC or CSU viable, both systems immediately began actively following state legislation and setting admissions policies and campus programs to better support DREAMers. With that in mind, these applicants and their counselors must become aware of very important nuances of each application as well as issues that these students will encounter. 

    Here are some general items that must be considered for DREAMers throughout the admissions and financial aid process: 

    • Names must match all records, both academic and legal (such as birth certificate, DACA, school records, etc.) Students school records and birth records are often not identical which only delays the college application process. All college applications and financial aid applications must have the students correct personal information such as name, DOB, address, email, etc.  
    • Fear of Disclosure: Thanks to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, it is against the law for school officials to disclose a student’s immigration status without their express permission.  

    (Reference: Best Colleges - College for Undocumented students website) 

     

    The UC Application 

    The application window for the University of California is from August 1st through November 30th. Students can begin submission of their application starting November 1st. Within the application there are specific questions that must be answered accurately that will flag the applicant as undocumented. The focus here is on those questions and not on the entirety of the application, the rest of which is addressed in the UC-specific section. When assisting students, new counselors and/or teacher leads encounter questions on this application and do not know the correct response to help students. Here you will find answers to those questions on the application as a quick reference.  Please make sure to verify all information with the UC website. Information changes often and the UC website is the official website for information. 

      

    • Fee Waivers: undocumented students of California are eligible for fee waivers to up to four UC campuses so as long as they meet the following: low income requirements, have attended a California high school for at least three years, and choose “No Selection” for citizenship status as a qualifying AB 540 student regardless of DACA status. 
    • Social Security Question: The application will ask you to enter your Social Security number (SSN). If you have qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and have been issued a SSN, you are NOT required to enter that number on your application. 
    • If the student has a valid Social Security Number (SSN) — for instance, because of immigration proceedings — enter that on the application. 
    • If the student has an SSN for work purposes (usually through DACA), use that where the application asks for an SSN. 
    • If the student has a valid SSN or SSN for work purposes only, but does have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), use the ITIN in place of an SSN on the application. 
    • If the student does not have a valid SSN, SSN for work purposes, or ITIN, leave this item blank. 

    Important Note: The number used on this item in the application must be the same as the SSN or ITIN entered on the California DREAM Act Application. 

    • Country of citizenship question: Undocumented students have the option to choose “No Selection.” This option is considered a valid response and the UC recommends this choice for undocumented applicants, including those with DACA status. By choosing “No Selection,” undocumented students avoid being asked other questions about permanent residency and visa status that are not applicable. 
    • California residency: Applicants are asked the following questions to determine if they are a California resident for admissions purposes: 

    Have you attended a California high school for three or more years and will graduate or have graduated from a California high school? 

    How long have you lived in California? 

    Is your parent or legal guardian a legal permanent resident of California? [if you’re under 18] 

    Is your parent, legal guardian, spouse or registered domestic partner an employee of UC or a UC-affiliated national laboratory? 

     

    If applicants are considered a California resident for admissions purposes, they may be eligible for our application fee waiver and be considered for admission using the 3.0 minimum GPA (rather than the 3.4 GPA for nonresident applicants). 

    • Keep in mind: Being a California resident for admissions purposes does not necessarily mean applicants will be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Eligible students must file a nonresident supplemental tuition exemption (also known as AB 540). 
    • Personal Insight Questions: It is to the student’s advantage to use one of the personal insight question responses or the additional comments section to discuss their undocumented status. It is not required, but the applicant’s response can provide more context for their application by helping reviewers understand their circumstance and resources. It will not be used outside the application process.
    • Parent Citizenship Information: When submitting the application, applicants are asked questions about their parents’ citizenship status. For example: 
    • Is your parent a U.S. citizen? 
    • Has your parent been physically present in CA for the last 3 years? 

     

    According the UC, applicants do not have to answer these questions, but if they do, the UC encourages applicants to answer them truthfully — any information provided will not affect the applicant’s admission decision. This information is used only to help UC determine residency. Since this information is kept confidential and secure from any federal agency, it is important and encouraged that applicants answer these questions for residency. 

    (Reference: University of California - Undocumented Student Resources website

     

    The CSU Application 

    The application window for the California State University is from October 1st through November 30th. Within the application there are specific questions that must be answered accurately that will flag the applicant as undocumented. The focus here is on those questions and not on the entirety of the application, the rest of which is addressed in the CSU-specific section. Here you will find answers to those questions on the application as a quick reference. Please make sure to verify all information with the CSU website. Information changes often and the CSU website is the official website for information.   

     

    • Fee Waivers: undocumented students of California are eligible for fee waivers to up to four CSU campuses so as long as they meet the following: low income requirements, have attended a California high school for at least three years. 
    • Social Security Question: The application will ask you to enter your Social Security number (SSN). If you have qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and have been issued a SSN, you are NOT required to enter that number on your application. 

     

    If you do not have a SSN, you can leave that item blank on the application and the campus you are applying to will assign you a temporary number.

     

    California Residency: Residency. Answer all questions about residency (where you live). If you meet AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 guidelines and are being charged nonresident tuition, contact your campus and submit a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form. 

    Being a California resident for admissions purposes does not necessarily mean applicants will be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Eligible students must file a nonresident supplemental tuition exemption (also known as AB 540) for every CSU the student applies to.  

     

    The law requires that the information you share on the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form be kept confidential.  (See California Education Code §68130.5(d): "Student information obtained in the implementation of this section is confidential.") Student information is also protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

     

    California Tuition: Remember: Students will not be considered for this exemption unless the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form is completed and submitted along with supporting documents (i.e., transcripts, proof of attendance at a California school) to the campus Admissions and Records Office.  

    Additionally, a student who was a lawful nonimmigrant individual during his/her high school attendance, but who is no longer a non-immigrant (e.g., a student whose valid non-immigrant visa has expired, but who has not applied for any other non-immigrant status or a student who has applied for permanent residence, asylum, or another immigration classification other than as a non-immigrant), is entitled to this exemption provided s/he has met all other requirements for the exemption.

     

    Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Questions: It is to the student’s advantage to use one of the EOP responses to discuss their undocumented status. Particularly for Question #5: Please tell us more about yourself. Is there any additional information you would like EOP to consider in determining your admission to the program? It is not required, but the applicant’s response can provide more context for their application by helping reviewers understand their circumstance and resources. It will not be used outside the application process only for the Early Opportunity Program EOP.

     

    Parent Citizenship Information: When submitting the application, applicants are asked questions about their parents’ citizenship status.  

    For example: Answers should be the following for students living with Parents 

    1. What U.S. state/possession does your parent regard as his/her permanent home? 
    2. Does your parent claim California Residency? Yes 
    3. Has your parent lived in California continuously since his/her birth? If No, when did his/her present stay in California begin? Enter date when Parents Arrived.

    For students who are unaccompanied minors: Answers should be the following: 

    1. What U.S. state/possession does your parent regard as his/her permanent home?
    2. Does your parent claim California Residency?
    3. Has your parent lived in California continuously since his/her birth?  If No, when did his/her present stay in California begin?  

     

    According the the CSU, any information provided will not affect the applicant’s admission decision. This information is used only to help CSU determine residency. Since this information is kept confidential and secure from any federal agency, it is important and encouraged that applicants answer these questions for residency. 

     

    CSU Residency Questionnaire: The CSU Residency Questionnaire is deemed necessary for determination of students residence status for tuition purposes. A completed application will determine students residency. Failure to answer all questions may cause the student to be classified as a nonresident. Student may submit additional information they believe will establish their California residence. 

    Student must complete a separate questionnaire for each campus. Only one term and one campus may be selected per questionnaire and all fields must be completed or questionnaire will be returned to the student unprocessed.

     

    Important Note: Follow the instructions carefully on Part B: Residence Determination Date. Check the box that applies to student and provide the requested information. 

     

    (Reference: the California State University - Admissions Process website)

     

     

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