Frequently Asked Questions

This information is provided to help prospective and current undocumented students to be successful at Towson University. It’s also designed to educate members of the TU community about key terms and issues that affect our undocumented and “DACAmented” students.

Traducir esta página al Español

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 must have:

  • 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 school year
  • 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 GED.

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 time;
  • 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; and
  • 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.

More Information

If you have additional questions, please contact Mario Rodriguez in the Center for Student Diversity,  or Claire Keaton in University Admissions,