College Hall

DACA/Undocumented Student Resources

The following resources and information are for Montclair State University students who are undocumented and/or DACA recipients.

DACA Information and Resources

On January 9, 2018, a U.S. District Court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis on the same terms and conditions as were in effect before the rescission on September 5, 2017, including allowing DACA enrollees to renew their enrollments.  However, new applications from applicants who have never before received deferred action will not be processed, and DHS may still deny the right of a DACA enrollee to return to the United States if they travel abroad using advance parole. For more information, please refer to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Response to January 2018 Preliminary Injunction. For guidance on DACA requests rejected by USCIS due to U.S. Postal Service issues, please refer to USCIS’s page Guidance on Rejected DACA Requests.

On August 3, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia again concluded “that DHS’s September 2017 decision to rescind the DACA program…was both subject to judicial review and arbitrary and capricious.” According to D.C. District Judge John D. Bates’ 25-page opinion, “The Court has already once given DHS the opportunity to remedy these deficiencies—either by providing a coherent explanation of its legal opinion or by reissuing its decision for bona fide policy reasons that would preclude judicial review—so it will not do so again.” The U.S. government appealed the Court’s decision.

On November 8, 2018, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding and continuing the January 9, 2018 preliminary injunction granted by the District Court of the Northern District of California. The National Immigration Law Center explains that “In its decision, the court reasoned that the plaintiffs in the case were likely to prevail on their claim that the Trump administration’s termination of DACA was ‘arbitrary and capricious’ and therefore unlawful. All three judges also noted that there was sufficient evidence that DACA was ended due to anti-Mexican or anti-Latino animus to justify keeping the injunction in place.” It is likely that the U.S. federal government will seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Please refer to the NILC’s Status of Current DACA Litigation page for more information.

If you currently have DACA approval or a pending DACA application, please speak to a licensed, experienced immigration attorney or recognized/accredited organization or representative before making any plans pertaining to work, travel, or applying for a DACA renewal. Among many options, CUNY CLEAR is an excellent resource for free legal services and guidance.

In addition, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) offers extensive, up-to-date information on DACA, including general advice and support and advocacy resources. The following NILC pages provide useful information:

For more in-depth, timely information on DACA, please refer to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators DACA Resource Page.

Travel Related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

With regard to the September 5, 2017 memo from the DHS rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the following is recommended:

If you are an undocumented person (regardless of whether you currently have permission to travel abroad through advance parole), please speak to a licensed, experienced immigration attorney before making any travel plans. Among many options, CUNY CLEAR is an excellent resource for free legal services and guidance.


Tuition and Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

In-State Tuition under the NJ Dream Act

New Jersey residents who are undocumented under U.S. immigration law or who have been approved under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may qualify for in-state tuition under P.L. 2013, c. 170 (NJ Senate Bill 2479), the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act, also referred to as the “New Jersey Dream Act.” Under this law, undocumented students are exempt from paying out-of-state tuition if they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Attended a New Jersey high school for three or more years;
  2. Graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey;
  3. Register as an entering student or are currently enrolled in a public institution of higher education not earlier than the fall semester of the 2013-2014 academic year; and
  4. In the case of a person without lawful immigration status, file the Affidavit of Intent to Legalize Immigration Status each year (as required by the state of New Jersey) with Montclair State University.

For more information and instructions on applying for in-state tuition, please visit: New Jersey Dream Act. Affidavits must be filed with Undergraduate Admissions or the Graduate School each year; for points-of-contact for these offices, please contact Elizabeth Gill, Director of International Employment and Immigration in the Office of University Counsel.

Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (P.L. 2018, c. 12) granting eligible undocumented students access to NJ State Financial Aid. Please refer to New Jersey Dreamers for information about the bill and its requirements for qualifying for state aid.

In addition, the Scholarships That Do Not Require FAFSA web page contains a list of scholarships that do not require FASFA verification.

For financial aid questions pertaining to undocumented students, please contact Chandra Sakajani, Assistant Director of Financial Aid.

Articles and Websites

The following articles and pages should prove helpful in staying abreast of issues pertaining to undocumented students:

Please keep in mind that the information contained on this page and in the advisories and pages listed above does not constitute legal advice. Please speak to a licensed, experienced immigration attorney if you require legal counsel.

Campus Conversation Groups

Conversations without Walls

This conversation group is for all immigrants– documented and undocumented– and allies to connect and share their experiences in a welcoming environment. For this semester’s schedule and details, view the flyer or News item, and find us on HawkSync.

Connecting across Cultures

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) holds this informal, supportive discussion group for international students, students who have studied abroad, and any students who are interested in dialoguing and connecting across cultures. Visit the Connecting across Cultures page for more information.

Social Justice and Diversity Discussion Groups

The Office for Social Justice and Diversity hosts a number of discussion groups for undergraduate and graduate students who share similar identities to come together in a welcoming environment to build community, share experiences, and support one another. Visit the Office for Social Justice and Diversity Discussion Groups page for more information.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Students who have individual concerns are encouraged to contact the Office of the Dean of Students, and they may also take advantage of the resources offered through Counseling and Psychological Services, including short-term individual counseling, group therapy, psychiatry, Let’s Talk walk-in sessions, and more. Contact information for CAPS is located here.