Resources for undocumented and DACA students
This page contains general information and materials and should not be considered as legal advice. If you are looking for legal assistance with your personal immigration case please consult a licensed attorney who has experience working in immigration law or a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited representative. Please contact the Social Services Coordinator who can help you find legal immigration assistance.
This page is a resource for all students, families, and faculty members who may need additional assistance in navigating on and off campus resources. If you need additional information or resources please complete the Student Care & Support Form for individualized campus support.
The University of Nevada, Reno offers multiple degree programs but understanding the requirements for each program and balancing personal responsibilities may be overwhelming. There are academic advising for all majors, where they assist students in creating academic plans that best meet their study of interest.
Educational protections and benefits
The University of Nevada, Reno believes that our campus should be welcoming, safe and supportive for all students regardless of their immigration status, national origin, age, disability gender, disability, race, color, religion and veteran status. We encourage you to read more about the policies below to understand the educational rights of all students.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records and students identifying information. Learn more about FERPA at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The University of Nevada, Reno offers institutional grants and scholarship opportunities based on merit or financial need for students who do not have the opportunity to apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, non-FAFSA eligible students can apply for private scholarships.
Mental health support
It is important to recognize the resiliency of undocumented students and continue to acknowledge the challenges impacting these student's mental health, self-esteem and well-being. The University strives in supporting all students and their unique challenges through supportive services. Below you will find on campus counseling services for students.
The University of Nevada, Reno does not endorse or specifically recommend any resource. We encourage you to do additional research when looking for any legal help. We recommend you follow the toolkits at the bottom of this page to better assist you in finding reliable and legal assistance.
Northern Nevada immigration legal services (non-profit organizations)
Resources for students and families
Frequently asked questions about DACA
What does undocumented status and DACA mean?
Immigrants Rising defines “undocumented” broadly to include all immigrants who reside in the United States without legal status. They include individuals who:
- Entered without Inspection (also known as “EWI”): Individuals who entered the United States without presenting themselves for inspection at an official checkpoint to obtain permission to enter the country (e.g. crossing the border without inspection).
- Entered with Legal Status but Overstayed: Individuals who entered the United States with legal status (e.g. student visa) and then remained in the country after their ‘duration of status’ date (found on their I-94) or after their visa expired.
- Have or Previously Had Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Individuals who have been granted temporary reprieve from deportation through the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Additionally, individuals who had DACA in the past, or will be eligible to request DACA now that the program is fully reinstated.
- Are Currently in the Process of Legalizing: Individuals who are pursuing legalization (e.g. U.S. Citizen Spouse Petition or U-visa pending, etc.) but currently have no legal
- Vulnerable Immigrants: Individuals whose immigration status is in ‘limbo’ or puts them ‘at-risk’ for being targeted by immigration enforcement. This could occur due to many factors, such as politics (e.g. TPS program at risk of being canceled due to shift in the policy), to U-visa recipients who cannot adjust their status due to personal circumstances (e.g. lack of funds, missing a deadline).
It is also important to note that while all DACA recipients are undocumented, not all undocumented individuals are DACA recipients. Selection is contingent upon meeting criteria and the completion and federal government review of an individual's DACA application. Learn about DACA Frequently Asked Questions.
Can I enroll at the University if I am undocumented or have DACA?
U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for admission to our University, and we welcome all students who seek education and the opportunities it provides. Therefore, any individual can apply to be a student and, if accepted, enroll for classes.
Please note that a social security number (SSN) is not required to apply. If you don’t have a social security number you can write in all zeros (0) instead of an SSN on your application. For assistance with University applications, please contact Office of Admissions & Records.
Do I list myself as an international student when applying to the University as an undocumented or DACA student? Do I need to submit an I-20 Eligibility Form to the Office of International Students (OISS)?
No, you do not list yourself as an international student on the University application form. If you have accidentally listed yourself as an international student and paid the subsequent $95 application fee, please contact the Financial Aid Office to reverse this decision and payment, then apply again as a new first-year student, transfer student, or graduate student and pay the $60 application fee.
No, you do not need to submit an I-20 form to the OISS.
Am I eligible for in-state tuition as an undocumented student?
Undocumented and DACA students who have graduated from a Nevada high school are automatically eligible for in-state tuition.
If a student did not graduate from a Nevada high school, they must submit the Nevada Residency Application to be eligible for residency tuition rates. Please contact University Social Services Coordinator for assistance with the application.
What financial assistance is available to me as an undocumented student?
Undocumented and DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, but may apply for university-based and alternate financial aid at the University, including some scholarships through their college or department. For information on financial aid and scholarship, visit University Financial Aid for International, DACA and Undocumented Students.
Undocumented and DACA students are encouraged to submit the 2021-2022 Institutional Methodology Scholarship Form, which serves as an alternate form for students who are not eligible for FAFSA. DACA students may still submit the FAFSA if that is required for a specific scholarship or program, but they will not receive federal aid.
Am I eligible for the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or the Nevada Advantage Reduced Tuition Scholarship?
Undocumented and DACA students qualify for WUE and the Nevada Advantage Scholarship but may only apply to one. To qualify for WUE the undocumented or DACA student must be a resident of Nevada and be seeking their first Bachelor’s degree. To qualify for the Nevada Advantage Scholarship, the student must be a non-resident from a qualifying Western U.S. state and be seeking your first Bachelor's degree. For more information on qualifying factors, please visit: Western Undergraduate Exchange.
Where can I find the latest information about the status of DACA?
ASUN Legal Services has an attorney on staff to aid students with their legal matters. Although the attorney cannot represent students in court, guidance can still be provided on nearly any legal problem. Visit them online to schedule an intake appointment or call (775) 784-6589.
Students can also visit the University Legal Services at the UNLV Immigration Clinic or call (702) 895-2070 for more information.
Follow Undocupack at the University of Nevada, Reno on Instagram and Twitter for immigration updates, scholarships and other helpful resources.
As an individual with DACA status and a University employee, can I continue to work at the University if DACA ends?
If the DACA program ends, this does not necessarily mean that your employer will automatically terminate you. However, if your employment authorization expires, it is a violation of federal law for an employer to continue to employ you after your work authorization expires. Despite this, you still have rights in the workplace. For more information, please visit Workers’ Rights.
Can I work on campus if I am undocumented?
If you are a DACA recipient, you can work on campus under funding that is not federal. Most work-study positions require you to fill out the FAFSA and are federally funded, so DACA recipients do not qualify for those. Although, undocumented students who do not have a work permit or social security number do not qualify to work on campus, there are other opportunities that they do qualify for. Undocumented students qualify for stipends.
For more information on how undocumented students can make money, visit Immigrants rising and learn about how undocumented folks in the community are creating their own opportunities.
If I experience discrimination while at the University, where can I get help?
Undocumented students (with and without DACA) are important members of our campus community. If you are facing discrimination, the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX (EO/TIX) is here to support you, help identify your rights and provide assistance for next steps that you may want to take. Please contact EO/TIX to learn more about how title IX protects students against discrimination.
Should faculty or administrative staff inquire about a student’s immigration status?
Generally, no. The very limited exception is if the faculty or administrative staff member works in a capacity to assist DACA students or otherwise assist with immigration questions or related financial-aid questions and the student asks for information or assistance.
As a DACA student, can I apply for Advance Parole and travel outside of the U.S. and/or participate in study abroad?
Students who are DACA recipients have the option of applying for Advance Parole, which allows them to leave the country and return legally for humanitarian, work- or education-related matters. It is highly recommended that individuals interested in applying for Advance Parole work seek assistance from an immigration attorney, as there are risks involved in leaving the country as an undocumented person. Find a reputable immigration attorney through the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) lawyer search. The USCIS is currently accepting applications for Advance Parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to Sept. 5, 2017, in accordance with the court’s Dec. 4, 2020 order. USCIS will determine your eligibility through the filing of Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.
The University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) provides information about studying abroad and studying within the country. The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program for exchange within the United States and Canada.
What information can the University disclose about student records, including class schedules?
A student’s education record is protected under the Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). Any record that directly relates to a student and is maintained by the institution or a party acting on behalf of the institution is considered an education record. The University of Nevada, Reno complies with federal and state law with respect to disclosure of a student’s education record to outside parties.
The University maintains directory information for students, including name, class level, major, email, address and telephone numbers. Individuals and external organizations may request this information, but the University carefully reviews and considers each request, and not all requests are fulfilled. FERPA does not prohibit disclosure of directory information. Learn more about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Because U.S. citizenship is not a requirement of admission, the University does not track undocumented or DACA status of its students.
Can a student opt out of having their directory information disclosed?
Students have the right to request non-disclosure of directory information. If they do not restrict release of this information, it is probable that the information will be released or disclosed. The University of Nevada, Reno uses directory information for non-commercial, educational purposes, such as to mail notices to students about changes in policies, services, or opportunities. Directory information may also be provided for commercial purposes to businesses affiliated with the institution, honor societies, the alumni association and foundation, or other individuals for purposes that may be beneficial to students. The institution exercises discretion in responding to requests for directory information and may or may not provide such information when requested, depending on the intended purpose of the request. The institution does not sell or rent student information for a fee.
It is important to consider carefully the potential consequences of restricting the release of directory information. If a student restricts release for non-commercial educational purposes, the institution will be unable to place the student's name in publications such as honors and graduation programs; to confirm graduation and dates of attendance to potential employers; to verify enrollment with organizations such as insurance companies; or to send notifications about specialized scholarships without the express written authorization of the student.
If, after due consideration, you wish to restrict the release of directory information, complete a Request for Confidential Status of Directory Information Form and submit it to the Office of Admissions and Records. This directive will apply permanently to your record until you choose to reverse it by submitting a written authorization.
As a University faculty or staff member, what should I do if law enforcement officers are in my office or classroom?
Please contact the University Office of the General Counsel during business hours at (775) 784-3493 for immediate assistance in any situation in which a law enforcement officer requests personal or personally identifiable information or records relating to a student. If not during normal business hours, contact University Police Services at (775) 784-4013.
You may ask the law enforcement officer for their name, identification number, agency affiliation and also for a copy of any warrant or subpoena presented. Inform the officer that you are not obstructing their process, but following standard University practice and must contact the appropriate University office for assistance.
Historically, external law enforcement agencies have notified University Police Services in advance of arriving on campus to execute a warrant or subpoena.