UC is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for its undocumented students and to providing the resources for their success.
The vast majority of UC’s undocumented students have lived in California for most of their lives and attended high school here. They earned admission to UC based on the same rigorous academic criteria as their classmates. Yet they face challenges many of their peers do not, including the ability to get financial aid, study abroad, work legally, and pursue graduate and professional degrees.
Uncertainty about federal immigration policy and the future of programs like DACA — which grants temporary legal status to eligible students who were brought to the U.S. as children — has magnified these challenges.
On Nov. 30, 2016, the university issued a Statement of Principles in Support of Undocumented Members of the UC Community. It reaffirms UC’s commitment to vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of undocumented students, as it does all members of its community.
The principles assert that UC will continue to welcome and support students without regard to immigration status, will not share student information without legal warrant and will not take part in joint efforts with any government agency to carry out federal immigration policy.
These protections are part of ongoing efforts by the University to provide undocumented students with resources and support to advance their academic success.
The Undocumented Students Initiative launched in 2013, provided campuses with funding for targeted financial aid and student services directed at undocumented students’ unique needs.
The program allocated $5 million to provide an array of services, including enabling every campus to offer advising and support services to undocumented students.
In 2016, then-UC President Janet Napolitano made a multiyear commitment to expand the program, earmarking $8.4 million per year over three years to expand financial, legal and student support services.
This funding supported three key priorities.
- It provided $5 million per year for UC’s Dream Loan program, which makes student loans available to AB540 undocumented students, who are not eligible for federal loan programs. Students repay their loans back into the Dream Loan fund.
- It established student services staff coordinators and undergraduate and graduate fellowships, as well as other financial support, such as funds for textbooks.
- It expanded legal services available to students by providing funding for UC’s Undocumented Legal Services Center. This program, which is housed at the UC Davis School of Law, serves students at eight UC campuses. It provides, free of charge, access to an attorney, consultation on legal rights and protections, and assistance filing for applicable state and federal programs.
In 2019, the Regents approved an additional $2 million in funding for FY19/20 to continue the campus work on behalf of undocumented UC students.
UC campuses thus offer a range of support services for undocumented students — from academic and personal counseling, to financial aid and legal advising.