DACA and Undocumented Student Resources

The University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) recognizes the unique challenges faced by “DACAmented” and undocumented students. This site includes multiple resources to support students and educate the UMB community. If you have any questions or would like to suggest additional resources, please email ile@umaryland.edu

Did you know that “DACAmented” and undocumented students may temporarily qualify for in-state tuition? For more information, visit the Office of the Registrar’s webpage: https://www.umaryland.edu/registrar/residency/deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals/

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy administered by the Obama administration in 2012. Under DACA, eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children are granted work permits and are protected from deportation. DACA recipients can renew their status every two years. However, the program does not provide a lawful path to citizenship.

As of July 2021, a Texas judge ruling partially closed the DACA program. No first-time DACA applications will be processed at this time. However, current DACA recipients can continue to submit renewal applications and are still protected from deportation and can be granted work permits. We will continue to update this page as decisions about DACA change. 

For information on how renew a DACA application, please click here. To qualify for in-state tuition as a DACA recipient at UMB, please click here.


What is the Maryland Dream Act?

The Maryland Dream Act is a law passed in 2012 that allows undocumented students who attend a Maryland high school the opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in the State of Maryland. To review the requirements and apply for Dream Act status, please complete the Nonresident Tuition Differential Exemption Form for Eligible Maryland High School Graduates and submit to the Office of the Registrar. Any inquiries regarding the Maryland Dream Act should be directed to the Office of the Registrar by calling 410-706-7480 or sending an email to residency@umaryland.edu

External Link Disclaimer

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the University of Maryland, Baltimore of any of the products, services, or opinions of the corporation or organization. The University of Maryland, Baltimore bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.  

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On and Off-Campus Resources

University Resources 

Office of the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs | www.umaryland.edu/campuslife

The Office of the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs in committed to creating inclusive campus environments and welcomes opportunities to meet with students to support their academic, personal, and professional success.

Office of the Registrar | https://www.umaryland.edu/registrar/about-us/

Questions regarding how DACA or the Maryland Dream Act impact residency classifications can be directed to the Office of the Registrar at 410-706-7480 or via email at residency@umaryland.edu. The Registrar also produces transcripts and degree/enrollment verifications for students and alumni, administers the USM residency policy, oversees campus-wide registration and grading, and produces and distributes diplomas.

Student Counseling Center | www.umaryland.edu/counseling

The Student Counseling Center (SCC) provides short-term professional counseling and psychiatric services for currently enrolled full-time and part-time UMB students. The SCC’s mission is to help promote and maintain the emotional well-being of UMB students and serve as a resource for the entire university community. For students who need immediate assistance, the UMB Crisis Support Line is available 24/7 and can be reached by dialing 410-328-8404 and pressing 7.

Academic Coaching | https://www.umaryland.edu/coaching/

Academic Coaching is a working partnership that focuses on the process of learning. Together with an academic coach, students examine their learning styles, habits of working, and current difficulties or barriers to success. This team (coach and student) works to create and put in place more effective strategies. The aim is to heighten awareness of what it takes to achieve academic success and anchor this with new strategies, a supportive relationship, and personal accountability.

Student Emergency Funds | https://www.umaryland.edu/umb-student-affairs/student-support/emergency-financial-support/ 

Each of the seven schools at UMB have a student emergency fund to support student’s needs during temporary financial hardship. Application requirements vary and depend on the school.

UMB Guidance Resources | https://www.umaryland.edu/hrs/benefits/guidance-resources/

The UMB Guidance Resources programs offers someone to talk to and resources to consult whenever and wherever you need them. You can connect to a Guidance Consultant on work/academic life solutions, legal guidance, and financial resources.


Scholarship Resources  

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The Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) is available to applicants who are ineligible to receive federal aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The MSFAA allows qualified children of undocumented immigrants, who qualify for in-state tuition under the Maryland DREAM Act, to apply and be considered for certain types of State need-based financial aid, such as: the Educational Assistance Grant, the Guaranteed​ Access Grant, the Campus Based Educational Assistance Grant, the Part Time Grant, the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship, the Near Completer Grant, the Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Award, the Legislative Scholarship Program, and the Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship. 

Please review the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) User Guide for more information.

Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities

Legal Resources in Maryland  

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Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Esperanza Center, Immigration Legal Services | https://www.catholiccharities-md.org/services/immigration/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

The Esperanza Center is a comprehensive resource center whose mission is to welcome immigrants by offering hope, compassionate services, and the power to improve their lives. Our dedicated staff and volunteers provide services related to education, healthcare, immigration legal matters, family reunification, anti-trafficking, and general community support to thousands of immigrants each year.

CASA | https://wearecasa.org/our-programs/

We are a group of passionate, community-conscious people working to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for Latino and immigrant people in the state of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We do this by providing employment placement; workforce development and training; health education; citizenship and legal services; and financial, language, and literacy training to Latino and immigrant communities throughout the state.

DC-MD Justice for Our Neighbors | https://www.justneighbors.org/

The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance awareness and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, staff, and community. 

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) | https://supportkind.org/

KIND provides pro bono attorneys to represent unaccompanied children through our partnerships with major law firms, corporations, and law schools which have agreed to represent children referred to KIND at no cost.  

Women’s Law Center of Maryland - Multiethnic Domestic Violence Project |  http://www.wlcmd.org/how-we-help/immigration-remedies-medovi-project/

Our Multi-Ethnic Domestic Violence Project (MEDOVI) provides immigration legal services to foreign-born Maryland residents who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault and/or human sex trafficking. If you have been the victim of any of these crimes, MEDOVI’s staff may be able to help determine whether you qualify for legal status in the United States and related benefits (including work authorization). If you qualify, MEDOVI could help you apply for such benefits without having to rely on the perpetrator of the crime, such as an abuser. MEDOVI provides these free and low-cost services to individuals of all genders throughout the state of Maryland.

Tahirih Justice Center | https://www.tahirih.org/

The Tahirih Justice Center works primarily to protect immigrant women and girls seeking justice in the United States from gender-based violence. Tahirih's innovative and comprehensive approach leverages pro bono resources to provide a combination of legal services, advocacy, and public education programs. Through this coordinated effort, Tahirih seeks to ensure the protection and safety of our clients, as well as their long-term well-being by raising their voices in the public policy arena, informing the public of the unique challenges immigrant survivors of violence face, and, ultimately, creating lasting legal and social change. We provide clients with pro bono holistic legal social services.

National Resources 

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Immigrants Rising | https://immigrantsrising.org/

Empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation. Their website includes a Beyond DACA: Immigration Options Every Undocumented Person Should Know guide and a list of graduate school scholarships that do not require U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency. 

Immigration Advocates Network | https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/

The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), a program of Pro Bono Net, is dedicated to expanding access to immigration legal resources and information through collaboration and technology. IAN was created in 2007 by leading immigrants' rights organizations, to increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them. We create our own tools, build platforms for others, and work with partners to harness the power of technology and collective action to better support immigrants and their advocates.

The UndocuBlack Network | https://undocublack.org/

Founded in January 2016 the UndocuBlack Network is a multi-generational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources, and advocates to transform the realities of our people, so we are thriving and living our fullest lives.

My Undocumented Life | https://mydocumentedlife.org/graduate-school-students/

At My Undocumented Life, we have compiled a list of key information & resources to help you navigate the graduate school application process and experience while undocumented (with or without DACA), including fellowship opportunities that are open to undocumented students and advice from former/current undocumented graduate students. 

Immigration Series

The following virtual workshops were facilitated by Maryland Immigration Judge Nelson Vargas-Padilla. 

Immigration 101: Understanding the US Immigration Process

Review the basic concepts of US immigration law and policy by exploring the terms used in US immigration law, as well as the methods of gaining immigration status.

Click here to watch the recording.

Refugees, Asylees, Migrants
The program examines the differences between refugee, asylees, and migrants. Provides an examination of US protection law and the international obligations to provide refuge.

Click here to watch the recording.

image of globe focused on North America

Demystifying Deportation
This program examines the rights and relief that may be available to someone during immigration proceedings.

Click to watch part one and part two of the recordings. 

Key Terminology

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Asylum Seeker- A person who has fled their home country as a political refugee and is seeking sanctuary in another country. Only asylum seekers who are granted refugee status are allowed to work and stay in the new country. An asylum seeker may be a displaced person or an economic migrant. Every year, around one million people seek asylum.


Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) – CIR is reform of the immigration system as a whole. Some issues that are discussed in CIR are border enforcement, border security, adjusting the status of the undocumented population living in the U.S., visa reforms, among others. 

Cultural/Performative Citizen- Acknowledges the cultural resilience and social reproduction in which undocumented peoples participate. They take part in the class, cultural, and linguistic knowledge and skills that establish the cultural capital of social groups in the U.S. Performative citizenship also acknowledges that folks can identify as citizens in all ways except on paper because they do not have a nine-digit social security number.


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – DACA is program announced on June 15, 2012, by President Barack Obama that is to protect individuals who qualify from deportation and give them a work permit for 2 years. The program is renewable. Deferred Action does not provide lawful status, it provides lawful presence.

DACA-mented or (Un) DACA-mented- The term is used by undocumented individuals who are DACA recipients. DACA-mented and (un) DACA-mented (similar to Dreamer) is sometimes used as a way to navigate away from the negative connotations given to terms such as undocumented, immigrant, non-U.S. citizen and so forth.

DREAM Act – The Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a national piece of legislation proposed to provide a pathway to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship for qualified undocumented immigrant students.  The national DREAM Act has been proposed several times in Congress since 2001 but has not been approved. The national DREAM Act is many times confused for state-based laws such as the Maryland Dream Act that provide access to in-state tuition for qualified undocumented immigrant students.  

DREAMer– DREAMer refers to students who are undocumented and are also part of the DREAM Act movement. DREAMer is a term commonly used by students who connect with the DREAM Act movement and sometimes used as a way to navigate away from the negative connotations given to terms such as undocumented, immigrant, non-U.S. citizen and so forth.   

Detention- The action of detaining/imprisoning someone or the state of being detained/imprisoned in official immigration and customs enforcement custody. Detention usually takes place inside detention centers which are jail-like spaces. The U.S. permits the indefinite detention of people until a decision is made by immigration authorities to grant a visa, release them into the community while they seek status adjustment, and or wait for their removal proceedings and eventual deportation.

Deportation- The action of deporting a person from a country. Also described as the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. The term expulsion is often used as a synonym for deportation, though expulsion is more often used in the context of international law, while deportation is more used in national (municipal) law. There were 2.5 million deportations under the Obama administration.


Entry without Inspection- Refers to individuals who have entered the U.S. without presenting normative government accreditation (i.e. visa).  


Generation 1.5- Refers to immigrants who were brought to the U.S as young children and identify as American. The label comes from the groups’ special place as first-generation Americans who migrate to this country during childhood and feel a strong identification with the U.S., yet are native to another country.


“Illegal”- “Illegal” (I-word) is a racially charged slur used to dehumanize and discriminate against immigrants and people of color regardless of migratory status. The I-Word is shorthand for “illegal alien,” “illegal immigrant” and other harmful terms. The Applied Research Center (ARC) and Colorlines.com, have presented the Drop the I-Word campaign to eradicate the slur “illegals” from everyday use and public discourse.

Immigrant – In the U.S. context this term refers to all people who are born outside of the United States and or who have family members who were born outside of the United States. Some people might be a first generation, second or third generation immigrant.. Some people also use the term foreign born. 

Immigration Detention- The policy of holding individuals suspected of visa violations, unauthorized arrival into the U.S, and those subject to deportation and removal until a decision is made by immigration authorities to grant a visa and release them into the community, while they seek status adjustment, and or wait for their removal proceedings and eventual deportation. The U.S. permits the indefinite detention of people. 

Immigration Raid- A tactic used by federal immigration authorities to enforce immigration law. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents “round up” individuals in private homes with and many times without deportation orders/warrants. Many times ICE agents raid public spaces like grocery stores and school bus stops as a way to find undocumented immigrants who may fit the agency’s criteria for deportation. Many times immigration raids are done in locations considered sensitive locations such as hospitals and places of worship. Many immigration raids have taken place without the proper warrants and therefore have engaged in human rights violations and racial profiling. 

Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)- A U.S. tax processing number (Tax ID), issued by the Internal Revenue Service to individuals who are required to have a taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a social security number.

International Student– Most colleges and universities consider any student who currently holds a visa (M, F, or J) to be international students. Valid student visas are required to apply to the Department of Homeland Security for admission into the United States at the port of entry.  Undocumented students are not international students as they do not have an M, F, or J visa. In addition, undocumented students should not have to go through the international admission process as they cannot provide an international student visa and other documentation required.

Interior Checkpoints- These checkpoints are located between 25 and 100 miles of the United States border. Their interior locations are meant to deter illegal activities that may have bypassed official border crossings along the frontier. The checkpoints are divided among nine Border Patrol sectors. There are a number of these checkpoints near the southern U.S. Mexico border as well as the northern border in states across the U.S. and Canadian borders such as Washington, New York and Maine.


Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) – Or “green card” recipient is defined by immigration law as a person who has been granted lawful permanent residence in the U.S.  


Maryland Dream Act-The Maryland Dream Act became law on December 6, 2012. This law allows Maryland high school graduates who are undocumented immigrants, U.S. citizens, and other statuses the opportunity to qualify for the lowest tuition rates at their public colleges and universities upon meeting certain eligibility requirements and submitting required documentation. This law applies to all future semesters, starting with the 2013 winter session.

Mixed-Immigration-Status Family– Refers to students that are either: 1) undocumented, but have family members that are U.S. residents or U.S. citizens or 2) are U.S. residents or U.S. citizens but have family members that are undocumented and or U.S. residents or U.S. citizens.


Naturalization- The process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a lawful permanent resident after they fulfill the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include: a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; an ability to read, write, and speak English; a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government; good moral character; attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and a favorable disposition toward the U.S. Immigrants face several barriers in this process; some include lack of access to lawyers, financial means for filing fees, time to study for tests and/or attend appointments.

Non-US-Citizen – The non-citizen category applies to people born outside of the U.S. and who have not applied for or have been granted citizenship. Permanent residents also fall into this category.

Non- Immigrant Visa- Issued to the citizens of other countries coming to the U.S. temporarily. Some of the nonimmigrant categories are students, tourists, treaty investors, foreign government officials, etc.


Overstayed Visa- Refers to individuals who have stayed in the U.S. after their tourist, visitor, or student visa has expired. A person overstaying their visa becomes undocumented. 


 U.S. Citizen- Individuals who obtain U.S. citizenship by birth in the U.S. or by process of naturalization. Citizens obtain a Social Security Number, have the right to vote, are able to use federal benefits, and are protected from deportation.

Unauthorized– This term is used to highlight the fact that all peoples have documents (i.e. birth certificate, a form of identification card, and so forth), but who may be residing in the U.S. without legal authorization, thus unauthorized.

Undocumented– Undocumented refers to people who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States, who do not hold a visa to reside in the U.S. and who have not applied for or are eligible for legal residency in the U.S.

U-Visa- An immigration benefit that can be sought by victims of certain crimes who are currently assisting or have previously assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of a crime, or who are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.


Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – A temporary immigration status granted to nationals of certain countries who are already in the U.S. and who cannot safely return to their home country due to things like war, a natural disaster, and other extraordinary conditions. Some countries include El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. 

T-Visa- T Nonimmigrant Status (T visa) is a set aside for individuals who are or have been victims of human trafficking. It protects victims of human trafficking and allows victims to remain in the United States to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking.