Who is an undocumented student?
An undocumented student is a person who lives in the United States, but who does not have official legal status as either a citizen or as a legal permanent resident. Many undocumented students were brought to the U.S by their parents when they were very young and may even consider themselves to be American because they have grown up and attended schools in the U.S.
Some undocumented students may not even be aware of their legal status for various reasons.
How will I know if a student is undocumented?
Many undocumented students and their parents are understandably cautious about revealing their status to others including school officials. However, if you believe that a student may be undocumented, you can indicate that they can feel secure that any information they share with you will be kept confidential. Undocumented students can benefit from seeing information for them in various spaces without having to identify themselves.
If a student has a social security number, does that mean he or she has legal status?
A student could be in possession of a social security number and not have legal status.
It is important to note that some undocumented students might believe that they have valid social security numbers that might have been obtained from sources other than the Social Security Administration. Other students who have been approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may apply for a social security number, but they are not considered permanent legal residents and are NOT eligible for Federal financial aid.
How does an undocumented student’s legal status affect his or her chances of admission to college in the U.S.?
The majority of colleges and universities in the U.S consider undocumented students for admission. Here at Illinois, undocumented student’s legal status does not impact admission decisions.
Should undocumented students self-identify in the admissions process?
FERPA regulations protect the privacy of the student records, including admissions applications, at all colleges and universities. It is up to each student to disclose their legal status as they see fit. They should not be encouraged to disclose this information as it is a personal choice.
What if a student is a citizen, but their parents are not? Are they eligible for financial aid?
Students who were born in the U.S. are eligible for many types of financial aid.