Consider this guide a starting point for finding resources and answers to common questions about undocumented and/or DACA-eligible student concerns. This guide does not contain all the information that an undocumented student may need, and regulations change frequently. The information below does not constitute legal advice. Since immigration law is constantly in flux, we will do our best to keep the information updated. Please email mosaic@msutexas.edu with other resources you would like added to the guide or concerns/questions about the current guide.

The information below was last review and updated on July 30, 2021.

  • Applying to MSU

    Important Note: The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) makes clear that school officials cannot disclose personal information, including immigration status, about students.

    Midwestern State University uses a common state college application through ApplyTexas. On the application, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your citizenship status, but will NOT be prohibited from completing the application. 
    • For the question regarding Social Security Number, you can leave that blank.
    • For Place of Birth, enter the city and state/province of where you were born and select the country.
    • Answer no to “Are you a U.S. Citizen?” Non-U.S. citizens will be asked additional questions to determine whether they qualify for Texas residency. This may indicate eligibility for state-level financial aid and in-state tuition.

    No federal law prohibits the admission of undocumented immigrants to U.S. colleges. In Texas, undocumented students may qualify for Texas state financial aid programs. However, undocumented students cannot legally receive any federally funded student financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships or work study money.

    Financial Assistance for College
    Texas DREAM Act

    Undocumented students gained wider access to Texas higher education in 2001 through the passage of bi-partisan legislation. Undocumented students can pay in-state tuition at Texas colleges and universities and are considered residents of Texas if they meet the following requirements:

    • Lived in Texas three years prior to high school graduation or obtaining a GED from Texas OR
    • Resided in Texas the (full) year prior to enrollment in an institution of higher education
    • Provide an affidavit stating intent to apply for Permanent Residency when eligible to do so

    Learn more about the Texas DREAM Act from the Center for Public Policy Priorities and the Texas State Historical Association.  


    TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid)

    The Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) is used to collect information to help determine eligibility for state (or institutional) financial aid programs that are administered by institutions of higher education in the state of Texas. Students classified as a Texas Resident who cannot apply for federal financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are encouraged to complete the TASFA. Please note that Texas residency can only be determined by the institution that you plan to attend. The TASFA application cannot be used to determine state residency status or final eligibility for state aid.
    To learn more and to download the TASFA, visit College for All Texans.  Information about the processing of TAFSA at MSU Texas can be accessed on the Financial Aid webpage

    Scholarships

    Grants and loans may only cover a part of your school expenses, so make sure to apply for scholarships to fund the rest! While some scholarships require you to have a social security number, there are a few that have no such requirement. The following organizations keep running lists of scholarships for which TAFSA-eligible students may be eligible.

    • Hispanic Scholarship Fund Provides scholarships and support services for Hispanic students, including DACA students. 
    • Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organization, and they are known for their commitment to fighting for access to education and employment for members of the undocumented community. While a large portion of this organization's funds are disseminated to the community via law school scholarships, they also offer scholarship resource guides, leadership programs, and census publications for those not pursuing a law degree.

    • TheDream.US. Scholarships that do not require U.S. citizenship. DACA and TPS students are eligible, but any undocumented student may be eligible. 
    • MSU Texas Scholarships List of MSU Texas scholarships and links to additional scholarship databases. Many of the MSU Texas scholarships have no requirement for a FAFSA or U.S. citizenship; any eligibility criteria are included with the details of each scholarship, along with application instructions.
    • Own the Dream. Through two scholarships, they provide financial support to students who attend their Partner Colleges. The National Scholarship is intended for high school and community college graduates who meet TheDREAM.US criteria and qualify for in-state tuition (up to $33,000). The Opportunity Scholarship is intended for students who live in targeted, locked-out states that bar them from attending universities, but they must meet TheDREAM.US criteria and be accepted to one of their Partner Colleges to receive funding (up to $80,000). 

    • Salvadoran American Legal and Educational Fund. To effectively execute their mission to increase the civic participation and representation of Salvadoran and other Latino communities, SALEF promotes giving back to the community. This organization gives out several scholarships each year, but to stay congruent with the values presented in their mission statement they expect all scholarship recipients to complete a certain number of volunteer hours to retain their funding.

    Common Questions for Undocumented Students

    Deportation. If deported, where are people dropped off once deported to Mexico?
    Unfortunately, it depends on where ICE has scheduled the drop off. Generally, an individual cannot request to be dropped off at a specific border exit; they are informed by ICE officials where they will be dropped off.

    Will they return my belongings, such as credit cards or money that I had at the time I got detained by immigration and processed for deportation? Yes, they will return the belongings upon exit from the United States.

    Finding Legal Assistance. Where can one find additional resources free of charge or low of cost to assist with getting appropriate answers regarding immigration? There are non-profits that offer low cost legal immigration services, but it is best to research their credentials on the Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review website.

    It is your responsibility to ensure the organizations are recognized and have accredited representatives (non-attorneys) offering the services. Please note, these organizations can only provide legal advice regarding immigration and cannot offer legal advice on any other area of law (i.e., family, criminal, civil, etc.) unless they have a licensed attorney on staff.

    If an individual claims to be an attorney then please check online with the State Bar of Texas to verify the individual is licensed under the State of Texas and to ensure they do not have any misconduct on their record.

    Also, with immigration law, there have been issues with certain organizations and scams in which individuals misrepresent themselves to be attorneys. Stay away from Notarios and individuals misrepresenting themselves to be attorneys.

    **NOTE: If one is looking for low-cost legal services, local options include Catholic Charities of Fort Worth as they have a branch located in Wichita Falls offering low cost legal immigration services.

    U.S. Residency Options. Is there another route for residency available besides DACA? There are several means to obtaining lawful status in the United States whether through a family petition, an immigrant work visa, or humanitarian relief. For the best advice, speak with an Immigration Attorney to learn about your options. **Note: Currently, DACA is not a pathway to residency or eventual citizenship.

    Work Permits. When and how does one begin to apply for a working permit? Individuals applying for DACA submit a work permit (EAD) application form at the same time as the DACA application, and all DACA approvals include approval for employment with a work permit. Aside from work-based visas, in which an employer-sponsor is involved, certain visa classes are eligible to apply for a work permit (i.e., F-1 students seeking OPT/CPT, individuals approved for TPS, etc.) using the I-765. This process can take several weeks or more; the form and instructions are available on the USCIS webpage. **NOTE: Undocumented persons and tourists (B-1 visa) are not eligible for an EAD (work permit).

    Work Visas. How can staying in the country illegally affect my chances for getting a working visa? Unlawful status in the United States will prevent an individual from being eligible to apply and receive a work visa, such as an H1-B.