Undocumented Student Support & Resources
Welcome to the University of San Francisco's resources page for Undocumented students! On this page, you will find a variety of resources and information to use as you navigate your time at USF. Students that have questions can feel free to contact any member of the Working Group to Support Undocumented Students. Contact information can be found on the working group's Contact Us Webpage.
Applying for Admission
The application process is identical for everyone, so you don’t need to hide your residency status. Undoc and DACAmented students can fill out the undergraduate application or the graduate application using the following guidelines:
- Complete the USF application as a domestic student.
- You will be asked to identify your country of birth and citizenship, but at no point will you be required to indicate whether or not you are undocumented.
- You will also be asked to enter your social security number, but you are not required to fill out this field. You may leave that field blank.
Financial Support & Resources
Financial aid applications
Undocumented and DACAmented students who do not meet the FAFSA eligibility requirements, should still fill out a financial aid application with either the CA Dream Act or the Collegeboard CSS Profile.
- The FAFSA application is for domestic students who are U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and meet the general eligibility requirements.
- The CA Dream Act application is for Undocumented and DACAmented students who are California residents and do not meet FAFSA filing requirements.
If you are having trouble deciding between filling out the FAFSA or CA Dream Act, Immigrants rising has a FAFSA vs CA Dream Act handout that you can refer to.
Internal Scholarship Funding
USF and the School of Education offer a variety of funding sources available to current and incoming undocumented students. Be sure to review each funding opportunity carefully since each funding source has differing eligibility requirements. USF sources of funding include:
The USF Jesuit Community Magis Endowed Scholarship offers scholarships to both undocumented undergraduate and graduate students. The scholarship grants a maximum of $1,000 award. The deadline to apply for this scholarship is rolling, meaning that students can apply at any time.
To apply for the Jesuit Community Magis Endowed Scholarship, please email Lori Prince in Student Financial Services. Applicants will be provided with the scholarship application which requests student information and the submission of one-page description of goals upon graduation.
The creation of the Magis Fellowship was lead by the USF's L.U.N.A club, formally known as M.E.Ch.A. Funded by the ASUSF Senate and the Office of the President, the Magis Fellowship provides financial aid to provide the opportunity for USF undocumented undergraduates to attend USF. Fellowship grants are awarded based on a proposed project that fellowship students carry out (no more than $8,000 per student per academic year).
- be an undergraduate student
- be in good academic standing
- be willing to develop a project that addresses specific barriers and challenges faced by the undocumented community.
Fellowship students work closely with a mentor from the Working Group to Support Undocumented Students to develop their fellowship project. Projects should address specific barriers and challenges faced by the undocumented community and can seek to educate the campus community, build support, and/or improve higher education access for the undocumented community.
Examples of projects include:
- Planning educational presentations or workshops
- Publishing a blog, OP-Ed, or another piece of public scholarly writing
- Developing an infographic, policy brief, or position paper
- Supporting the Working Group to Support Undocumented Students
Fellows receive support from their mentor to ensure the fellowship is a developmental and leadership opportunity for the student.
To apply, please visit the Magis Fellowship Application Page. Questions about the fellowship can be emailed directly to Ifeoma Nzerem, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School of Education (SOE) offers the Undocumented Student Scholarship for incoming and current undocumented and DACAmented students enrolled in any School of Education program. Awards are given in the amount of up to $5,000.
- Undocumented or DACAmented student
- Incoming or current student in any School of Education program (Hilltop Campus or additional locations)
- Candidates with financial need will be prioritized, but all will be considered
- Priority will be given to applicants who are actively engaged in education advocacy, immigrant rights, or other work related to supporting undocumented students.
Interested applicants can apply using the online SOE Undocumented Student Scholarship application. Applications are reviewed on a continuous basis.
The School of Education Social Justice Scholarship is awarded School of Education graduate students who demonstrate outstanding dedication and vision for equitable conditions in schools and communities, domestically and internationally. Students are eligible to apply after they have completed their first semester at USF. Selected students can receive up to three credits of tuition.
- Previous and/or current experience in community service and engagement
- Commitment to developing partnerships with marginalized youth, schools and/or communities
- Personal and professional background related to issues of marginalization and social justice
- Demonstrated financial need.
External Scholarship Funding
Students are highly encouraged to apply to outside sources of funding to help finance their education. Using scholarship search databases and lists that already exist for undocumented students can help cut down on the time and energy that students spend on looking for individual scholarships. We recommend making use of the following resources.
- Immigrants Rising's Undergraduate Scholarships List
- Immigrants Rising's Graduate Scholarships List
- DREAMers Roadmap App available for both iOS and android
DACAmented Students (students who are currently beneficiaries of DACA) are eligible to work both on campus and off campus with their work authorization card. Students can view job postings by going to the Student Employment Job Board. During the USF onboarding process, students will need to provide their social security number and their work permit to Student Employment. More information about onboarding can be found on Student Employment's New Hire Checklist for Student Employees page.
Although Undocumented students without DACA are not eligible to work as employees, they are able to work as an independent contractors or freelancers to generate income. Immigrants Rising has multiple resources to help students learn more about how to start, including their 5 Tips to Get Started as an Independent Contractor/Freelancer guide, and their UndocuHustle Hub, which trains individuals on the basics of entrepreneurship.
Academic Support & Resources
Rights and privacy - Ferpa
Thanks to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), staff and faculty are not allowed to disclose any identifiable information about students to others, including legal status. This means that if you choose to disclose your status to staff or faculty for the purposes of seeking support, they are not allowed to share this information with anyone inside or outside of the university. Although it can be helpful to share your status with USF staff or faculty who are supporting you academically, disclosing your status is ultimately up to you and you are not obligated to share your status with anyone.
USF has a variety of support programs to help students with their academic and professional goals. Academic support programs that currently exist through USF include:
At the Center for Academic and Student Achievement (CASA), students can connect with an academic success coach, get guidance on completing forms, and get connected to resources. Every student is assigned an Academic Success Coach during their first year at USF, in addition to their faculty adviser, for academic coaching and support.
Students can get connected to their academic success coach or pop into CASA's drop in hours to get support. For more information on how to find your coach, make an appointment, or go to drop-in hours, visit CASA's website.
The Center for First Generation Students/Muscat Scholars Program serves students who are first in their family to go to college. First generation students are students whose parents/guardians did not attend college or complete a 4 year-college degree. They serve as a resource for all first-generation students and families at USF to get individualized academic and personal support, and provide opportunities for connection and mentoring for students.
New students can apply to be a part of the year-long Muscat Scholars Program made of shared classes, retreats, events, and reunions. Muscat scholars receive a peer mentor, staff mentor, and get connected to others on campus who are here to support them. You can find more information about the year long program as well as general support by going to the Muscat Scholars Program Guide.
The Learning, Writing, and Speaking Centers is a collection of academic resource centers for USF students. Services are free and include subject-specific tutoring, writing assistance, and communication-related support. The Learning Center also provides opportunities for academic skill development, through 1:1 coaching, group workshops, and online resources. Students can visit the Learning, Writing, and Speaking Centers website for more information about each center as well as how to make an appointment.
The Career Services Center (CSC) serves to support students for job, internship, and career related needs. All of their resources including counseling appointments, career success workshops and job and internship search tools are currently available via Zoom and online. For more information, visit the Career Services website.
Legal Support and Resources - External
In order to stay up to date with policy updates about immigration policies we recommend that students follow community organizations who devote their time to immigrant rights on social media who post updates and legal resources. Examples of community organizations that you can follow are United We Dream, UndocuBlack, and Immigrants Rising. Currently, USF is unable to provide legal support for undocumented students; however, we have compiled a list of external legal resources that students can make use of.
The National Immigration Legal Services Directory is a tool to search for immigration legal services providers in your area. Only non-profit organizations that provide free or low cost immigration legal services are included and each provider lists the services they offer. Students can use this directory to find providers that provide a variety of services for themselves or their families, including, but not limited to, legal consultations, DACA assistance, representation in immigration court, naturalization assistance, special immigrant juvenile status assistance, and more.
California Rapid Response Networks exist to alert the community if you see immigration agents in your community or know anyone who has been arrested by them in the last 24 hours. To get in contact with them, call your local rapid response hotline. Contact information for all California hotlines can be found on the California Rapid Response Networks webpage put together by the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice.
The phone number for our local San Francisco Rapid Response Network is 415-200-1548. We recommend that all students add this contact information into their phones in addition to your local hotline number if you are from outside San Francisco.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) seeks to improve immigration law and policy, expand the capacity of legal service providers, and advance immigrant rights. ILRC has a variety of community resources and provides public information on their areas of expertise including information on DACA, asylum, immigrant youth resources, and LGBTQIA+ immigrant rights.
The Immigrant Legal Resources Center has created a tool called Red Cards to help people defend themselves in different situations. Each card lists your constitutional rights and communicates those rights with any immigration officials seeking to talk to you or enter your home. Printable card templates are available for free in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hmong, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.