Leonardo Martinez understands the difficulties that impact undocumented college students.
Martinez, a DACA student at Salt Lake Community College, explains that when you are undocumented, there is limited help and there is a lot more competition for scholarships. Resources can be hard to find when you are on your own, especially as a first-generation student.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protects undocumented immigrant youth from being deported if they meet certain criteria. Trying to figure out how to pay for college while in this situation can be challenging, but the state of Utah helps students pay in-state tuition.
DACA students can apply for in-state tuition at SLCC by completing the HB 144 residency application. A student must bring this form, along with a copy of their high school transcripts, to the registrar’s office.
For students who do not qualify for HB 144, summer semester classes at SLCC cost the same for everyone, regardless of residency status.
Martinez explains that SLCC has been one of the best schools to attend because it is affordable and class sizes are small, so it makes him feel comfortable. The school also offers a variety of classes for students to try out so they can find the best fit to major in.
DACA students have the ability to get on-campus jobs, and those working full-time can get employee benefits. Students can also apply for private scholarships.
However, DACA students are not eligible for several programs, including federal financial aid, work-study jobs funded through federal money, or college or public scholarships.
SLCC has organized a committee to support undocumented students during their time at the school. This committee helps students feel welcome on campus and advocates for undocumented student issues.
Students who have questions about DACA qualifications or assistance for DACA students can visit SLCC’s undocumented student resource portal for more information.