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1. Who are undocumented students?
Undocumented students are students who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or “eligible
noncitizens.” Undocumented students are sometimes referred to as “Dreamers.” Those
who came to the United States as children and remained through the Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are known as “DACAmented.”
2. What is the Maryland Dream Act?
The Maryland Dream Act became law on December 6, 2012, and applies to all future semesters,
starting with the 2013 winter session and on. The Maryland Dream Act is a tuition
equity law and allows Maryland high school graduates who are undocumented immigrants
the opportunity to qualify for the lowest tuition rates at their public colleges and
universities upon meeting certain eligibility requirements and submitting required
documentation. The act applies in all 24 jurisdictions within the state of Maryland
— every county in the state of Maryland, plus the city of Baltimore.
3. What is the benefit of having the Maryland Dream Act?
The law enables certain undocumented high school graduates to obtain a post-secondary
education at a more affordable price. If the students meet the requirements of the
law, they can qualify for the in-county rate at the Maryland community college in
the jurisdiction from which they graduated from high school. Then, once the student
earns their first 60 credits or an associate’s degree from a community college, and
continue to meet the requirements of the Dream Act, they are eligible for the in-state
rate at a four-year public university in Maryland.
4. Who can apply and be eligible to apply for the Maryland Dream Act?
To be eligible for the Maryland DREAM Act, students who are undocumented immigrants
- Attended a Maryland high school for at least three years, starting no earlier than
the 2005-2006 school year
- Graduated from a Maryland high school or received a GED no earlier than the 2007-2008
- Registered at a Maryland community college within four years of high school graduation
or receiving a Maryland GED
5. How do I apply for the Maryland Dream Act?
- A signed affidavit vowing to file an application to become a permanent resident within
30 days after becoming eligible to apply. See the USM Nonresident Tuition Exemption Form (PDF).
- If male, proof that the student registered with the U.S. Selective Service. Instructions
about how to register can be found on the U.S. Selective Service System website. Students
can register for Selective Service at any U.S. Post Office. A receipt from the post
office that indicates that application was submitted will be accepted as proof.
- Copies of Maryland state income tax returns filed by the student or the student’s
parent(s) or legal guardian. This income state tax return will state Form 502 or Form
503 at the top in bold print. The tax returns must be signed and must be from: Each
of the three years the student attended high school; each year that the student attended
community college; and each year between high school and community college.
- An official copy of the student’s high school transcript that shows his or her graduation
from a public or nonpublic high school in Maryland. If a student got a Maryland GED,
they must submit a copy of their Maryland high school transcript and a copy of their
6. What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?
On June 5, 2012, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order that the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to
the United States as children. Certain undocumented people who came to the United
States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred
action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for
work authorization. This action is separate from the Maryland DREAM Act.
7. Who can qualify and is eligible for DACA?
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of
making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from
high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are
an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other
misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
9. As an undocumented student or DACA student, am I eligible for federal student aid?
Undocumented students, including DACA students and Dreamers, are not eligible for
federal student aid. However, you may be eligible for college or private scholarships. Learn
more about aid and scholarships for undocumented students from TU’s Financial Aid Office.
10. Are there organizations that support undocumented/DACAmented students in Maryland?
United We Dream (UWD) is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. UWD’s powerful
nonpartisan network is made up of over 100,000 immigrant youth and allies and 55 affiliate
organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment
of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.
Maryland DREAM Youth Committee (MDYC) is an immigrant youth-led organization founded in July 2010 committed to empowering
undocumented youth to pursue educational opportunities.
Casa de Maryland is a community organization that strives to improve the quality of life and fights
for equal treatment of low-income immigrant communities.
National Immigration Law Center (NIC) is one of the leading organizations in the United States exclusively dedicated
to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants. NIC believes that
all people who live in the United States — regardless of their race, gender, immigration
and/or economic status — should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
If you have additional questions, please contact Mario Rodriguez in the Center for Student Diversity, mrodriguez AT_TOWSON or Claire Keaton in University Admissions, ckeaton AT_TOWSON.