Michelle Sotolongo, a Student Development Specialist for the Honors College, provides information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), including where eligible students can find support services and how the university is preparing for future rulings on DACA.
Immigration Policy and Law Relating to Students
Frequently Asked Questions
Financial Aid for DACA Students
Dr. Christopher Murr, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships, discusses financial aid assistance available to DACA students and how they can best maximize aid.
About 98,000 undocumented individuals graduate from high schools across the United States each year. Of this total, an estimated 5 to 10 percent enroll in college or a university.
Sources: migrationpolicy.org, U.S. Department of Education
Regardless of their circumstances, these undocumented and DACAmented students continue to thrive and succeed in higher education.
DACA students are valued community members of Texas State University and it is our goal to provide them with the support services they need while also raising awareness about their experiences.
Below we have addressed a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding immigration policy and law relating to students.
The acronym “DACA” refers to the federal “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program, which was deployed by Executive Branch memorandum on June 15, 2012.
DACA does not confer legal status, nor does it offer a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship. Only certain undocumented individuals who have no significant criminal history and meet educational criteria are eligible for the program. DACA status provides temporary administrative relief from the possibility of deportation (two years subject to renewal). Various legal challenges to the DACA program are ongoing in the courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on June 28, 2019, that it will grant the Trump administration’s request that it review the federal court cases challenging Trump’s termination of DACA. For now, the three U.S. district court orders allowing DACA recipients to submit renewal applications remain in effect, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is still accepting DACA renewal applications from anyone who has previously had DACA.
Yes, Texas State admits all qualified students regardless of immigration status.
4. If the DACA program ends, will I still be eligible to pay in-state tuition rates to attend this university/college?
Yes. Texas law authorizes persons classified as Texas residents to pay in-state tuition. Texas Education Code Section 54.052 and 19 Texas Administrative Code §21.24 outlines specific ways of determining whether a student enrolling at a public institution of higher education is classified as a Texas resident. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has a Frequently Asked Questions on “Eligibility for in-state tuition and state financial programs” on its website.
Texas State vigorously defends the privacy rights of students and will not release information about a student’s immigration status to anyone without a validly issued subpoena, court order or search warrant. The Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) prohibits colleges and universities from releasing information from students’ education records without consent, except under certain specified circumstances.
There are two important exceptions to FERPA:
- First, the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (“SEVP”) provides that participating institutions are subject to on-site review at any time, meaning that SEVP field representatives visiting a campus are authorized to obtain information about students on temporary student and training visas (F and J) — but not about DACA or undocumented students.
- Second, the USA Patriot Act serves as an exception to FERPA and permits federal officials, upon issuance of a court order alleging terrorist activities, to obtain information from education records without consent.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, principally responsible for immigration enforcement, with additional responsibilities in countering transnational crime. ICE maintains a policy which provides that they will not engage in immigration enforcement in sensitive locations like schools absent prior approval by a supervisor or exigent circumstances. The ICE policy can be found here. Individuals should be mindful that this policy may change.
8. If ICE agents detain a Texas State student, will Texas State release personal information to ICE agents including parent’s address or emergency contact information?
Student information is confidential and will not be released unless legally required to do so. If Texas State is presented with a warrant, we will comply with the warrant and provide only the information required by the warrant.
The population of Texas State students with DACA status is currently unknown as such information is not maintained by Texas State.
All students, regardless of their immigration status in the U.S., are expected to comply with all university/college and system rules and regulations. Students will not be held or arrested by UPD on the basis of immigration status alone.
DACA recipients refers to those individuals protected under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The term “DREAMer” refers to those who would be protected under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), a bill in Congress that has been proposed several times but never passed.