Undocumented Student Resources

PLU Gold Group

Created by undocumented students, for undocumented students, our group and our meetings provide a space to connect with community members, share on and off-campus resources, and learn about opportunities for engagement, advocacy, leadership and more.

Meetings are once a month. For general questions about the group or information to join, please contact us at undocu@plu.edu

Paying for College

Although undocumented students are unable to qualify for federal student aid using the FAFSA, there are a number of scholarships at PLU and beyond to make attending a private college possible.  Additionally, faculty, staff, and students have been working to insure that access to course materials is not a barrier to student success through the development of the Lute Library and Course Reserves.

Undocumented students attending PLU are considered for the university’s academic and artistic achievement scholarships in the same manner as domestic students.

In Spring 2016 and 2019 the PLU4US campaign raised funds to support undocumented students at PLU seeking financial support for Tuition, Textbooks, Leadership development, Internships and research, Aid for legal fees.  We recognize that there are many life costs that impact a students ability to be successful at PLU and hope to assist undocumented students in minimizing that.

Undocumented Students seeking additional financial support this support are encouraged to connect with their Student Financial Services contact, a member of the PLU Task Force working for and with undocumented students, or email undocu@plu.edu for assistance.  

The Lute Library & Course Reserves seeks to build a library of current course materials (books, clickers, etc) to increase student accessibility to learning materials through the Library’s Course Reserves system. Course materials in the Lute Library are available for checkout at the library front desk. The length of checkout will depend on the faculty member, with 2hr and 24hr being the most frequent. If the item is on 2hr reserve, you can either read it in the library, photocopy the pages, or scan them to email at the printers available.

Undocumented students seeking course material financial assistance are invited to request their materials through a confidential process. When a student requests textbooks, the Task Force works through donations to get the books added to the Lute Library & Course Reserves.  Also, the Task Forces works to secure additional required course materials such as clickers, lab coats, and access codes.

Undocumented students who are also Washington residents may also be eligible for financial aid funding through the state of Washington, including the Washington State Need Grant, the Washington State College Bound Scholarship, and the Washington State Work Study program. Application for these programs are made through the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).

Immigrants Rising list of Undergraduate Scholarships contains scholarships for undergraduate studies that don’t require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency. This up-to-date list, organized by deadline date, contains scholarships at state and national level.

My Undocumented Life hosts a website with links to scholarships and fellowships including funding support for MCAT and LSAT fees

For most loans, undocumented students require a cosigner.  For more information about about loans, please connect with Student Financial Services.

Ascent offers private student loans with no cosigner for DACA recipients.

Rights and Legal Resources

PLU cannot offer legal advice of any kind.  However, we are able to assist with funding for legal fees and DACA renewals. Read the following resources to learn basic information about knowing your rights in the U.S., recommendations for increasing safety, and recent updates on DACA.

I am a current DACA recipient OR a first-time DACA applicant, what should I do after the June 18, 2020 SCOTUS decision?

For information and resources about DACA, please see the following websites:

Free Legal Assistance with DACA Renewal

DACA Financial Assistance

  • PLU is able to cover the cost for the DACA application.  Please email undocu@plu.edu or connect with the staff in The Diversity Center (AUC 150) for more information.

When does the Real ID Act go into place in Washington?

(Update 7/25/2020)

The National Immigration Law Center provided the following update: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that, effective October 1, 2021, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will no longer accept driver’s licenses that do not comply with the requirements of the REAL ID Act (see below) as proof of identification to board commercial aircraft. The October 2020 deadline was extended due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration. This extension was codified in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,[1] enacted on March 27, 2020.
Additional Resources:

Immigration Advocates Network – Provides a National Immigration Legal Services Directory

Washington Resources

All people in the U.S., regardless of immigration status, have certain basic rights which are helpful to know, particularly in an encounter with law enforcement.

A preparedness packet provides personal information that you keep in a safe place that helps provide legal support in case of an emergency.

  • Notifica mobile app created by United We Dream is designed to use in case you come in confrontation with ICE, POLICE,CVP.  The app guides the user to to plan, learn and act if you are at risk of being detained by deportation agents.
  • Family Preparedness Plan – Developed by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, this document allows families to devise a plan regardless of immigration status and provides recommendations for immigrants and families with mixed status. This document is available in English and Espanol.

Mental Health & Wellness

We recognize the increased impact on mental health and wellbeing concerns for undocumented students and know that it can directly impact student success.  We encourage students to connect with on campus resources for counseling and health support and utilize the community created resources for undocumented student wellbeing.

PLU Counseling, Health & Wellness Services (CHWS) provides integrated medical, mental health, and wellness care to enable optimal student overall well-being.  PLU is investing in training and engaging in shared learning to ensure our capacity to provide responsive mental health and health resources to all of our students, including undocumented students.

  • CHWS website provides many resources including how to make an appointment with the Counseling Center, Health Center, and connecting with Urgent/Emergency Resources
  • Lute Telehealth is a resource for PLU students that expands access to mental health and medical care by providing 24/7/365 on demand access to licensed mental health providers and nurse practitioners and related services from the convenience and comfort of your phone or computer and at the location of your choosing.

United We Dreams’ UndocuHealth Project provides a wealth of online resources supporting mental health and wellbeing:

  • Mental Health Emergency Tool Kit is designed to alleviate not only the stress and anxiety of folks across the nation by giving the reader tools that will allow them to conduct safe zone events and incorporate stress reducing activities within their community work and daily lives.
  • Resources that provides an archive of webinars and articles sharing mental health tools and tips

Puentes mobilizes mental health resources to help undocumented migrants and their families cope and flourish despite our broken immigration system. They create innovating therapeutic spaces to promote social healing, the recovery of social agency, and engage community members to work towards immigration justice in the US.


For questions regarding the Gold Group, resources for undocumented students, future training sessions, or donations to the PLU4US Campaign, please connect with us at undocu@plu.edu

Lute Library

Undocumented Students are invited to submit their course material requests for Fall 2024

Leadership, Employment, and Career Resources

PLU is committed to providing opportunities for all students to gain work experience and skills. Alumni & Student Connections collaborates closely with The Diversity Center staff regarding alternatives to student employment for undocumented students. Career advisors in the Alumni & Student Connections office are available to meet with students and alumni for internship and career planning.

The following resources are offered for work eligibility awareness and should not be used as legal advice.

PLU Career Opportunities Board offers listings of on campus jobs and internship opportunities.

  • Students with DACA – You are eligible to work on and off campus with the submission of a I-9 and W-4 (see RESOURCES)
  • Students without DACA – Federal law prohibits employers, including PLU, from knowingly employing someone who does not have authorization to work in the United States. There are, however, PLU has opportunities for undocumented students to gain valuable experience through volunteering, scholarships, and paid fellowships.  Students without DACA interested in paid and unpaid on campus opportunity should email undocu@plu.edu or connect with The Diversity Center staff.

A few on campus paid leadership opportunities that do not require work authorization:

Students with DACA are eligible to work on and off campus. While the law has several clear protections for employees who are not U.S. citizens, many employers do not know or fully understand the law. DACA recipients may want to read this Department of Justice advisory regarding rights for DACA workers. The Department of Justice also provides a helpful guide to Protecting Your Right to Work as well as useful  descriptions of discriminatory practices.

DACA recipients may not be eligible for certain jobs such as jobs with the federal government or federal contractors.  federal employment or employment by federal contractors. The Code of Federal Regulations Title 8, Section 1324b outlines situations when an employer can make hiring decisions based on an applicant’s immigration status.

I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification

The I-9 is a USCIS form which employers are required to have new employees fill out on their first day of employment. If an employer does not ask their employee to fill out this form, it is the employer who could face fines or other consequences from the federal government, not the employee.

The purpose of the I-9 is for the employer to verify that their new employee is authorized to work in the United States. An employer can do this by verifying that a new employee is either a U.S. citizen or possesses certain documents which prove work authorization such as a Social Security Card, Work Permit, or Legal Permanent Resident card. DACA recipients may prove their work authorization by presenting an I-766 Employment Authorization Document or a Social Security Card. A full list of accepted documents can be found on page 3 of the I-9.

Students with DACA may want to familiarize themselves with the I-9 before filling it out. In particular, the I-9 requires employees to attest to a specific category of work authorization which is immigration related. USCIS provides additional guidance about filling out the employee section of the I-9 on this page of the Employer Handbook. Errors on the I-9 such as falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen can have serious immigration consequences so folks who are not U.S. citizens will want to be very careful in filling out the I-9 and may wish to consult an attorney with specific questions.

Social Security Number, Email Address, and Phone Number are all optional fields on the I-9. If an employer uses E-Verify, however, the social security number is not optional. E-Verify rules state that an employer may only screen someone in E-Verify once they have accepted an offer of employment. Applicants may look up employers to find out whether or not they use E-Verify. Learn more about your rights in regards to E-Verify here.

W-4 Employee’s Withholding Certificate

The W-4 is an IRS form which designates how employers deduct taxes from an employee’s paycheck.  Employers will usually ask new employees to fill out this form on their first day of work. Social security numbers are required on this form.

Students who are undocumented and do not have DACA face additional challenges in securing employment. Undocumented students may want to learn about legal protections for employees who are not U.S. citizens since many employers do not know or fully understand the law and may have discriminatory employment practices. The Department of Justice also provides a helpful guide to Protecting Your Right to Work as well as useful descriptions of discriminatory practices.

While there are significant barriers to traditional employment, undocumented individuals may be able to earn money through alternative means. For example, certain fellowships requiring a W-9 instead of I-9 and W-4 as well as independent consulting/contracting may be open to undocumented. The following is a list of resources to educate yourself about alternative options to earn money or gain work experience.

  • Immigrant Rising offers multiple career resources including;
    • A guide to Life After College detailing information regarding options for “Earning a Living” as an undocumented person.
    • Guides to undergraduate and graduate fellowships that don’t require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency. Recent graduates may find fellowships which do not require enrollment in an educational institution by searching for “Recent Graduates” in the graduate fellowships guide.
    • Guide to Working for Yourself
  • This Huffington Post article provides context and personal experiences of undocumented professionals navigating the work world.
  • Georgetown University’s career center provides information about disclosing status and a list of Alternative Employment Options.
  • Legal Aid at Work has created a fact sheet regarding employment rights for undocumented workers.
  • The National Immigration Law Center explains the Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN) and how undocumented individuals may use it. The Immigrant Rising guide to Life After College linked above also provides useful information about using an ITIN.
  • Online networks such as the Instagram account undocuprofessionals provide “a space to highlight experiences as we transition from #undocumented student to #undocuprofessionals!”

Caution: There may be additional tax implications for alternative ways of earning an income. Beware of opportunities that are called “fellowships” or “independent” but actually meet the IRS definition of employment, and therefore require an I-9 and W-4.

Fellowships can be an avenue to gain experience without required proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency.

  • Immigrants Rising hosts guides to undergraduate and graduate.  Recent graduates may find fellowships which do not require enrollment in an educational institution by searching for “Recent Graduates” in the graduate fellowships guide.
  • PLU Scholarship & Fellowships Database: Uplifts the Soros and provides links to essay application tips

Study Away

The Wang Center offers students opportunity to study away both domestically and internationally experiences.  Currently, The Wang Center is advising students with DACA status not pursue study abroad opportunities until the future of the program is known.  For more questions please connect with Dr. Tamara Williams at williatr@plu.edu

NAFSA (the Association for International Educators) has provided up to date information about advising undocumented students interested in studying and traveling abroad.  The following links provide support and reference to advising students to not pursue study abroad opportunities until the future of DACA is known.