What is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a federal policy set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department that allows qualifying young people to apply for a renewable, two-year period of deferred action and work authorization. DACA is set to expire March 5, 2018. This policy has enabled many undocumented young people to pursue higher education when they otherwise could not. Most of these young people were brought to the U.S. as small children and identify as Americans. The Colorado Department of Higher Education strongly supports continuation of the DACA program, and Colorado State University has joined the national call to uphold DACA in support of our students.
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Do we have DACA students at CSU?
Yes. Although CSU does not track students’ immigration status, we are aware of approximately 190 students attending CSU who currently have DACA status.
Where do our DACA students come from?
With only one or two exceptions, students with DACA status at CSU are all Colorado residents who graduated from Colorado high schools.
Is CSU or any of its employees required to report DACA students to immigration authorities?
NO! All students who are attending Colorado State University are doing so legally. The University and its employees have absolutely no role in reporting or inquiring about any student’s immigration status. University employees have an obligation to support the academic success and personal safety and well-being of all our students. Student information is protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
How can I get a list of DACA students in my department?
CSU does not track DACA status of our students, and for reasons of their privacy, please do not request this information from students in your department or college. To do so may have an unintended consequence of making impacted students fearful and mistrustful about how their personally identifying information is being shared. If students volunteer the information to you, then they are inviting your support – but the information should be treated as theirs to share.
How do we know how many DACA students are enrolled at CSU?
We do not know exactly. Some students have self-identified as having DACA status to their professors, advisers, or financial aid staff, and we are working with these students.
Is the University doing anything to help DACA students?
Yes. CSU has had a team in place for many months to support our impacted students and to look at options related to financial aid, online degree-completion, counseling support, legal, and community resources. The committee consists of: Enrollment and Access, Financial Services, General Counsel, the President’s Office, Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Office of International Programs, External Relations, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Community for Excellence, the Collaborative for Student Achievement, Dr. Susana Muñoz and Dr. Eric Ishiwata as faculty, and members from the DreamZone Training committee. Dr. Ishiwata also serves as faculty adviser to the Dreamers United student organization.
Detailed information on contacts and resources is available at https://undocumented.colostate.edu/
o All students who have self-identified as having DACA status have been assigned a personal
scholar contact (CSU staff or faculty member) who communicates with them and tracks their progress.
o Dream Zone training on how to work with and support undocumented and immigrant
students will be provided for faculty and academic advisors, including during the Professional Development Institute in January.
o Student Legal Services has arranged for lawyers who specialize in immigration law to meet with impacted students once a month.
o The University has been in regular communication with the Colorado congressional
delegation on issues related to DACA and individual students. CSU has also signed on to additional lobbying efforts coordinated by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and the American Council on Education, two of our representative bodies in Washington D.C.
o Undergraduate advisers and Academic Support Coordinators in every college will be
receiving training in November on the specialized needs of DACA students.
o The Career Center is adding staff with specialized knowledge of how to support DACA
o We are working on identifying possible options, funding sources, and community partners to assist with basic living expenses should that become a need for our students.
o The CSU System is developing plans that would allow students to complete their degrees
online in the event of deportation.
o CSU remains firmly committed to providing equal protection to all students, including DACA students, under the law.
Why is CSU doing all this when Congress still has several months to figure this out?
We don’t know what will happen with DACA at the federal level. Our goal is to plan thoughtfully and strategically to support our impacted students no matter what happens with federal policy.
• For those students who are able to stay here but whose work visas are revoked, is it possible for our department to offer things like space, room in homes, etc. for them while they’re in school.
Should this occur, we encourage departments to contact the organizing team for information on how best to support individual students. The contact is Dr. Kathy Sisneros at Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Has CSU reached out to the local faith community to support our DACA students?
Yes, and these conversations are ongoing. There is a lot of support for those impacted by a DACA rescission in the community.
Why is CSU offering special support to these students?
These students were admitted to CSU legally and in good faith, and they have excelled here. The university and its Board of Governors supports the success of all students we admit, and we have committed to supporting students with DACA status in continuing on through graduation.
What is CSU’s plan regarding sharing of student information if ICE comes to campus? Will the university turn over class schedules? What is the role of FERPA?
CSU (including the CSU Police Department) will not act as agents of ICE or work on the organization’s behalf, and we will not automatically provide student information in response to a request. The university would be required to respond to legally issued warrants or subpoenas for student records. FERPA protects the confidentiality of student records, but there is a specific legal exception for subpoenas or warrants. It is important to note that CSU does not track whether students have DACA. DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, so we do not accept FAFSA forms from them and do not have this information on record.
If DACA is rescinded, what can CSU do for these students in terms of financial aid?
DACA students are only eligible for institutional (CSU) aid, so the amount of financial aid available for DACA students won’t be affected by a repeal. The larger challenge of repeal for DACA students is a loss of work authorization that typically comes with “Dreamer” status. Most of these students work in the community to pay for school and living expenses – many work full-time to cover their expenses. If DACA is repealed and the work authorization also goes away, the inability to legally work will make paying for school and life expenses more difficult (or impossible) for many. We will certainly look at available institutional aid resources to support our impacted students to the extent we can.
If students are deported, will CSU support them in completing their degrees online?
Yes. CSU has already developed plans to make this possible if it becomes necessary, and the university has good options to provide to students should this become the case. We strongly hope it does not, but we are prepared if it becomes necessary.
Is there a way for people in the community to help provide financial support for DACA students at CSU?
Protecting current Colorado State University students is a responsibility that we all take seriously. The Student Crisis Fund helps students and their families who are impacted financially by everything from natural disasters across the country to issues such as changes in DACA. This fund is not specific to DACA, but funds in it could be used to provide support as determined appropriate. Donations provide resources that can be used immediately to offer relief at: https://advancing.colostate.edu/STUDENTSUPPORT Student Crisis Fund
In addition, the Pathway to Education Scholarship is in place to assist noncitizen and ASSET students.
How can I support a DACA student?
Recognize that DACA students are experiencing shock, fear, and anxiety for themselves and for their family members. If you learn that you have a DACA student in your class, understand that they may be distracted from their academic focus and may be working with Student Case Management. Mostly be mindful of the deep level of duress they may be experiencing. Please be encouraged to direct your students to the resources listed here, as they may not be fully aware of the support available to them.
Where can I find the most current information about the DACA rescission?
For the most current federal guidance on DACA issues, visit these websites: Department of Homeland Security – DACA FAQ’s
Department of Homeland Security – DACA Fact Sheet