DREAM Act for Undocumented Students

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students who came to the United States with their families as minors. First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act would help undocumented students work toward citizenship who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, have graduated from high school or have a GED, have good moral character, and no criminal record. NASFAA has long-supported the DREAM Act and the right for undocumented minors to find opportunity, education, and a future in the only home they've ever known.

NASFAA News Coverage

House Passes DACA Protection Bill, But Enactment Remains a Challenge
March 19, 2021 - The House on Thursday passed a bill that would, among other immigration-related policies, provide a pathway for individuals enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship.

Biden Administration Unveils Immigration Proposal With DACA Protections
February 19, 2021 - Congressional Democrats on Thursday formally unveiled President Joe Biden's sweeping legislative package that would overhaul the U.S. immigration system and offer a pathway to citizenship for individuals enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

NASFAA Urges ED to Clarify that Undocumented, International Students Eligible for Emergency Aid
January 29, 2021 - In a letter to the Department of Education (ED) on Thursday, NASFAA joined dozens of associations representing four- and two-year public and private colleges and universities urging the department to allow undocumented students, DACA recipients, and international students to be eligible to receive emergency aid grants from the new round of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund aid (HEERF II).

Federal Judges Publish Opposing Rulings in CARES Act Lawsuits
July 29, 2020 - A pair of legal challenges against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act have come to opposing rulings on what determinations the ED can make when it comes to allocating emergency federal aid for students. 

SCOTUS Prohibits Trump Administration From Winding Down DACA Program
June 18, 2020 - The Supreme Court on Thursday released a highly anticipated decision on the DACA program, determining that the program must be upheld, at least for the time being. The decision serves as a rebuke to the Trump administration, which in 2017 sought to wind down the program and now offers a new level of certainty for the program's roughly 644,000 participants.  

In Reversal, ED Will Not Enforce Title IV Eligibility for CARES Act Student Grants, Still Excluding DACA Students
May 21, 2020 - After facing heavy criticism over guidance that would limit federal emergency student grants to those eligible to receive Title IV aid, including critique from NASFAA, ED late on Thursday pulled an about-face in an updated statement saying it would not enforce that guidance because it lacks "the force and effect of law." 

Until SCOTUS Acts, Financial Aid for DACA Students Largely Left Up to the States
May 18, 2020 - The spring was slated to be a consequential season for individuals in the DACA program — and that was before the health pandemic, which has now brought an added economic strain on the population.

Colorado Mountain College's Income Share Agreement Program Offers Interest-Free Option for DACA Students
October 7, 2019 - As college costs rise, some institutions are expanding lending options to include income share agreements. Colorado Mountain College launched its new financial aid initiative called Fund Sueños (the Dream Fund) on Sept. 20, 2018.

Appeals Court Blocks Trump Administration From Ending DACA
November 9, 2018 - A federal appeals court Thursday ruled that the Trump administration could not immediately end the DACA program. This decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's temporary ruling that the program must remain intact. 

Community College Leaders Discuss Supports for DACA Students
October 31, 2018 - Community colleges have a large role to play in helping students in the DACA program succeed in higher education and can continue to influence the culture in their college systems both in states that have traditionally supported this population of students, as well as in those that have not. 

Democratic Leaders Announce Deal to Protect DACA, Trump Denies Claims
September 14, 2017 - Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) late on Wednesday announced they had come to an agreement with President Donald Trump to preserve the DACA program. On Thursday morning, Trump denied that the three had struck a deal. 

Trump Administration Repeals DACA Program Ahead of Expected Lawsuit
September 5, 2017 - The Trump administration on Tuesday formally announced the repeal of the DACA program, which was put into place under the Obama administration and provides deportation protection to undocumented immigrants – also known as "DREAMers" – who were brought to the country as young children.

DACA Status Back in the Crosshairs
July 27, 2017 - Higher education community leaders, including NASFAA, are calling on Congress to support legislation that would protect undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children – also known as "DREAMers" – at a time when their status in America continues to be called into question. 

Trump Administration Formally Ends DAPA, But Says DACA Is Here to Stay For Now
June 19, 2017 - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) late Thursday night announced it would formally put an end to the Obama-era program intended to protect the undocumented parents of citizens or legal residents from deportation. But DHS said in the same memo – in a reversal of President Donald Trump's previous claims on the campaign trail – that it will continue the DACA program. 

Advising 'Dreamers' on Paying for College: What Has Changed, and What Hasn't, Since 2012
June 12, 2017 -   "Back in December of 2012, I wrote an article for NASFAA entitled 'Deferred Action for "Dreamers:" Advising DACA Students About Affording College.' Since then, so much has happened, and yet much still remains the same."

DACA Reportedly Untouched Under New Deportation, Detention Rules
February 22, 2017 - The Department of Homeland Security yesterday released two memos implementing a pair of executive orders signed last month by President Trump. The orders direct immigration agents, customs officers and border patrol officials to remove anyone convicted of any criminal offense and call for an expansion of expedited removals from the country. 

Report: Repeal of DACA, Deportation of Recipients Would Cost Federal Government Billions
January 30, 2017 - Despite arguments that undocumented immigrants are harmful to the U.S. economy, a recent analysis from the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers, shows that a repeal or roll-back of the DACA program would ultimately cost the federal government over $60 billion and reduce economic growth over the next decade by $280 billion. 

2016 Election Brings Hope, Anxiety for Undocumented Students
August 23, 2016 - Students across the country are paying close attention to the 2016 presidential race, in which candidates have promised everything from free college to increased protections for student loan borrowers. But for undocumented students who are attending college under the DACA program, the outcome of the election could make or break their higher education aspirations. 

Survey Shows Positive Higher Education Outcomes For DACA Recipients
October 7, 2015 - Three years since its creation, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program continues to have a positive impact on undocumented immigrant youth and their families, particularly when it comes to helping them achieve their higher education and career goals, according to a recent survey from the immigrant youth-led network United We Dream (UWD). 

Publication Date: 2/24/2021

Related Content

Tip Sheet for Undocumented Students


Tip Sheet for Financial Aid Administrators Working with Refugee & Asylee Students


View Desktop Version