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Deferred Action for 'Dreamers'

Updated Information as of November 2014 and Proposals available here.

Although the Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act has never been passed into law by Congress, certain eligible young immigrants may now be eligible to apply for temporary relief called "deferred action."   Deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) provides individuals who are not in lawful immigration status and entered into the United States as minors a two-year grant of deferred action.  The DACA does not provide a pathway to citizenship, nor does it confer lawful immigration status upon recipients.  It does allow for work authorization, application for social security numbers, and potentially obtaining a driver's license, depending upon the state of domicile. 

DACA Qualifications:

  1. Entry into the U.S. before the age of 16;
  2. Five years of continuous residence and actual physical presence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and on June 15, 2012;
  3. Enrollment in or graduation from high school or other qualifying educational program or obtained GED certificate;
  4. No convictions for felonies, significant misdemeanors, multiple misdemeanors, and no national security or public safety threats; and
  5. At least 15 years of age at the time of application but not more than 30 years of age on June 15, 2012.
  6. Individuals are required to pay a $465 filing fee to Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and individuals should seek assistance from a qualified immigration attorney or non-profit organization.
  7. More information is available from Department of Homeland Security.

DACA Recipients and Financing College:

In certain states, undocumented immigrants are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities.  The good news is that Carson-Newman's tuition and fees are the same regardless of state residency.  However, DACA recipients are currently ineligible to receive federal student aid as they do not currently fit into any of the U.S. Department of Education's categories for eligible noncitizens.  Additionally, undocumented students are also ineligible for most state financial aid programs.

Carson-Newman does award merit aid to undocumented students upon acceptance even though students may not qualify for federal and state aid.  Additionally, DACA recipients should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The student must have a Social Security number to complete the FAFSA online.  This FAFSA will be used by Carson-Newman solely to determine if an undocumented student may also qualify for Carson-Newman need based aid.  In comparison to public colleges who may charge out-of-state tuition, the cost of attending Carson-Newman is many times more affordable.

DACA students should also explore sources for outside funding.  Students may be eligible for private scholarships, depending upon eligibility requirements.  Students should conduct free scholarship searches in pursuit of funding.

Important Considerations for DACA Recipients:

  1. DACA program is still new and developing.  Some issues remain to be resolved.
  2. Since DACA does not confer an immigration status, students who have received DACA or have a pending application for DACA should not travel or study abroad.
  3. Students who choose to work while in school should understand that personal earned income is taxable and well as certain scholarships.  Since federal tax filing categories for DACA recipients are not yet clear, the exact tax consequences for DACA recipients have not been determined.

What's Next?

  1. Apply for admission to Carson-Newman. 
  2. Upon acceptance to Carson-Newman, students will be sent a merit aid offer.
  3. If DACA is right for you, then take appropriate steps to make an application, but read and consult appropriate legal advice.
  4. Students with Social Security numbers may file the FAFSA.
  5. Financial Aid Award Notifications will be sent to students that are determined to be eligible for need-based Carson-Newman assistance.
  6. If DACA is not right for you, or you do not have a Social Security number to file the FAFSA, and you have been accepted to Carson-Newman, please contact our Admissions Office regarding options.  Students will also need to meet with a Financial Aid Counselor and should have their student and parent(s)' income information available at appointment time.

Please contact us for additional information regarding enrolling to Carson-Newman.  We are here to help students afford a great education at a great price!


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