Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS/DACA

LEGAL RESOURCES

Question:  Will the University be making any legal resources available for undocumented students and students and employees who have DACA?

Answer:  Yes. 

The University is working with national organizations and law firms to organize events on campus to provide students and employees with general information about their rights and the legal landscape.  Additionally, the University is exploring opportunities for these organizations and law firms to provide pro bono advice and guidance on an individual basis.  The University will update the Student Support Services website once dates for the events are finalized.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Question:  Will the University provide financial support for undocumented and DACA students?

Answer:  Yes.  The University uses private funds (not state or federal funding) to provide financial aid to support undocumented and DACA students.

The University meets 100 percent of the demonstrated financial aid need of all of its undergraduate students. Through our robust financial aid programs including UChicago Promise and Odyssey Scholarships, all undergraduate student need is met without the use of loans. The application fee is also automatically waived for all students who apply for need-based financial aid.  If undergraduate students lose their employment authorization due to a change in immigration policy that affects the amount of their expected contribution, the University will re-evaluate aid-awarding policies.

The University will evaluate the financial needs of all admitted undergraduate and graduate students on a case-by-case basis and is committed to supporting students where possible.  Undocumented and DACA students may, if appropriate, access emergency funds from the Office of Campus and Student Life for eligible expenses outside the standard educational expenses. For more information contact Ireri Rivas mirivas@uchicago.edu.

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT/RESOURCES

Question:  Does the University provide any mental health resources to address the needs of undocumented and DACA students or students from mixed- status families?

Answer:  The University has coordinated a number of resources tailored to addressing the needs of undocumented students:

  • Biweekly Therapy
    • A biweekly therapy group for undocumented students, led by certified clinicians experienced working with undocumented and immigrant communities, will begin in Winter quarter 2017. No student attendee information will be collected or recorded.  Contact any of the following for more information:
      • Devon Moore - 2-4537
      • Ireri Rivas - 2-2435
  • Student Counseling Service (SCS) Short-Term Counseling.
  • Counseling Referrals
    • Contact Dr. Adia Gooden, agooden@uchicago.edu or 773.702.9800, to obtain information on counseling referrals outside the University working with undocumented and immigrant communities.  Students on U-SHIP must meet with SCS in order to obtain a referral form before meeting with an outside counselor.  Students using private insurance are not required to have an appointment or referral with SCS.
    • If a student has financial limitations for copayments or cost of treatment, they should inform SCS.  Individual considerations can be made on an as-needed basis.

ADMISSIONS

Question:  Will undocumented students continue to be admitted to the University?

Answer:  Yes.  The University of Chicago considers for admission students from around the world.  All students who apply to the University, regardless of citizenship and including undocumented students, are considered for admission and the financial aid for which they qualify.  Some of the University’s current graduate programs have an academic requirement for which employment authorization is needed.  The University is evaluating these academic requirements in light of potential changes to DACA.

PROTECTION OF STUDENTS’ EDUCATION RECORDS

Question:  Does the University protect my personally identifiable student education records?

Answer:  Yes.  The University adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The University is committed to protecting the privacy of student educational records with the means available by law. In accordance with FERPA, the University will not release information from a student’s education record, including immigration status and other identifying information, without the student’s written consent, except as required by law.   There are some exceptions, which are described on the University Registrar’s website: http://registrar.uchicago.edu/page/ferpa-student-educational-records-directory-information.  Additional information about the University’s compliance with FERPA also can be found in the Student Manual: http://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/inspection_record.

PROTECTION OF STUDENTS’ HEALTH RECORDS

Question:  Does the University protect my student health records? 

Answer:  Yes.  FERPA also protects student health records, including psychotherapy notes and other mental health records. In addition to FERPA, various state laws, including the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act and the Illinois Mental Health Confidentiality and Developmental Disabilities Act, also protect student health records.  The University will not release information from a student’s health record without the student’s written consent, except in the limited circumstances permitted by these laws.   

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT

Question:  What role does the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) play with regard to enforcement of federal immigration laws?

Answer:  The enforcement of federal immigration laws is not part of the mission of the UCPD. Accordingly, except as required by law, UCPD does not engage in immigration enforcement work and it does not release information on immigration status to local, state or federal law enforcement agencies.

Question:  Under what circumstances would UCPD ask for identification from a victim of or witness to a crime?

Answer:  UCPD may request an ID from a victim of or witness to a crime.  However, there are multiple forms of ID that would be acceptable (student ID, state ID, etc.), and at no time would this identification be checked against a U.S. Immigration and Customs database.

Question:  What immigration-related reporting to the federal government is required by UCPD?

Answer:  Federal law encourages cooperation from state and local law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of immigration laws, but does not statutorily mandate this cooperation.  The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) outlines how local law enforcement interfaces with U.S. Immigration and Customs when processing undocumented immigrant arrestees.  More information about this program can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/pep

Question:  When is UCPD required to take fingerprints, and is UCPD required to share the fingerprints with state and/or federal agencies?

Answer: Yes. As required by Illinois Statute (20 ILCS 2630/5), law enforcement agencies operating in Illinois are required to submit fingerprints to the Illinois State Police (ISP) Bureau of Identification for all arrestees charged with any of the applicable mandated reported offenses included within the law.  ISP maintains those fingerprints in a state identification database, which is shared with federal agencies in accordance with their own policies, procedures and other applicable laws.

WORK AUTHORIZATION

Question: Under what circumstances do I need employment authorization, and what happens if my employment authorization is revoked?

Answer: All individuals in the U.S. who seek to be employees must establish that they can lawfully work here.  Without valid employment authorization, you are not able to be employed.  You will, however, remain eligible to participate in bona fide internship programs.  For additional information about the legal requirements for bona fide internship programs, please see: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf.  

SANCTUARY CAMPUS

Question: Will the University declare itself a sanctuary campus?

Answer:   The University is taking all possible steps within the law to support our students and other University community members, including those who are undocumented or who qualify for relief under DACA.  The University is working on concrete steps to help undocumented and DACA students, including providing greater access to mental health and legal resources, and additional financial support.  The University is focusing on these positive actions and is not considering declaring itself a “sanctuary campus,” as it is not a well-defined term.

KEY UNIVERSITY CONTACTS

Question: Whom should undocumented and DACA students and DACA employees contact to discuss issues/concerns?

Answer:   There are several individuals on campus who can offer help and support.  Please contact one of the individuals below, who will either assist you directly or refer you to the proper person/department.  They are:

Current Graduate Students
Ireri Rivas, Director, Student Support Services, mirivas@uchicago.edu, 773.702.5710

Prospective Graduate Students/Applicants
Holly Bland, Director of Graduate Enrollment Initiatives, hkbland@uchicago.edu, 773.834.8223

Current Undergraduate Students
Devon Moore, Director, Center for College Student Sucess, devonmoore@uchicago.edu, 773.702.4537

Prospective Undergraduate Students/Applicants
Veronica Hauad, Deputy Dean of Admissions, hauadv@uchicago.edu, 773.834.2569

Employees
Marcia Garcia, Director, Health & Welfare Retirement, garciam@uchicago.edu, 773.702.9822

OTHER RESOURCES

National Immigrant Justice Center: http://www.immigrantjustice.org/know-your-rights/what-do-next-protect-immigrant-communities

National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/

United We Dream: http://unitedwedream.org/press-releases/united-dream-leaders-respond-election-results/

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: http://www.icirr.org/news-events/news/details/1061/we-will-meet-this-moment-icirr-responds-to-the-2016-election-results

My Undocumented Life: https://mydocumentedlife.org/2016/11/10/advice-regarding-daca-whats-next-from-two-national-immigration-law-centers/