The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), has been a huge help to the immigrant population that arrived here as children. After the entire population was placed on a roller-coaster of having DACA rescinded and reinstated, we are not yet sure what the future holds. As a recipient myself, and undocumented before this, I was always afraid of disclosing my immigration status. Although DACA recipients cannot apply for any federal aid, there are many ways that institutions can offer help. Here is what we recommend for DACA recipients:

1.       College is an option. I was always afraid that if I were to expose my status to a university or college, they would call immigration and I would be deported. This was never the case. Talk to your admissions counselor and explain your situation. These institutions don’t care about your status to get you accepted. Most institutions have various ways to help. All you need to do is ask how.

2.       Scholarship opportunities within institutions. Although DACA and undocumented students may not be able to apply for some types of financial aid, like the FASFA, there are many ways to get help. Various institutions offer academic awards, institutional scholarships, and grants. These funds are typically from various donors allowing the institutions not to ask for any proof of citizenship. 

3.       Don’t be afraid. If you are not comfortable discussing your status with an admissions counselor, talk to your high school counselor or someone you do trust. This way they are able to ask for you, without disclosing your name.

4.       Outside help is available. There are many scholarship opportunities outside of institutional help. Many are specific to DACA. Ask your high school counselors and admissions counselor. Most will have a list of scholarships you will be able to apply for. These are all from outside groups raising money for this specific cause.

5.       Be patient. As of now, nothing is certain in our future. As the government argues about the future of DREAMERS, we must be patient. Remember that many have gone through the process, including myself. The future is bright, so keep pushing along, and always ask to educate yourself.

If you ever have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to assist.  For more information on DACA, including talking points, and infographics, visit www.iowaacac.org/resources.