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Undocumented and DACAmented Students

Please Read: A federal judge in Texas on Friday, July 16, 2021, issued a ruling that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful. The decision is likely to be appealed to higher courts, and it does not affect individuals who currently have DACA or need to renew existing DACA benefits. However, the decision blocked the federal government’s approval of new DACA applications.

Please see this university statement on the ruling. U-M DACA support resources, as well as information for students needing assistance connecting with support resources related to DACA or undocumented status, are available at

Further information can be found through the U-M International Center as updates become available.

Background Information

In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Education released a Resource Guide Supporting Undocumented Youth: A Guide for Success in Secondary and Postsecondary Settings. The Rackham Graduate School is committed to supporting undocumented and DACAmented graduate students. Instructions for applicants who are Undocumented or DACAmented who are applying to the Rackham Graduate School are available. Below are resources available throughout the University of Michigan and answers to questions you may have. You can also find the people to contact at Rackham and other offices around campus.

Tuition Costs and Funding

Can undocumented or DACAmented students qualify for in-state tuition at the University of Michigan?

In state residency is determined by the Registrar’s Office and may be granted if you are commencing your education at the University within 40 months of graduating from an accredited Michigan high school or receiving your GED, regardless of citizenship status. If you believe that you should be granted in-state tuition, you should file an application for Resident Classification or an appeal with the Appeal Committee.

Do undocumented students without DACA qualify for financial assistance?

Yes, there is limited financial assistance, primarily stipends (non-service), available to undocumented students without DACA. Students without DACA, however, are not eligible to be appointed to graduate student instructor (GSI), graduate student research assistant (GSRA), or graduate student staff assistant (GSSA) positions.

What types of financial assistance do students with DACA qualify for?

Students with DACA are able to receive stipends as well as being appointed to graduate student instructor (GSI), graduate student research assistant (GSRA), or graduate student staff assistant (GSSA) positions. All GSI, GSRA, and GSSA (collectively referred to as GSA) positions include a monthly salary as well as full tuition (for appointments of .25 or higher), health insurance (including dependents), and dental insurance (Option 1) at no cost to the student.

Check out the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s (MALDEF) Scholarship Resource Guide, which includes scholarships for undocumented students, as well as the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. The University Library also provides lists of funding for master’s and doctoral students from external sources and within the university.


Is the hiring and appointing process for DACAmented students different?

Students with DACA are hired and appointed using the same process as other graduate students.

As an undocumented or DACAmented student, how should I enter my information for the background check?

All graduate students appointed to graduate student instructor (GSI), graduate student research assistant (GSRA), or graduate student staff assistant (GSSA) positions (collectively referred to as GSA) positions are required to pass a background check. As part of the background check process, you will be required to provide personal identifying information including your name, date of birth, address, and social security number. If you do not have a social security number, you may provide another unique identifier (e.g., USCIS#, Alien #) in order to complete the background check process. This information is collected by GIS, an external vendor that conducts all background checks on behalf of the University of Michigan. The results of your background check, not your unique identifier, are shared with the university.

Can I continue to work if my Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expires?

Students are not eligible to work without a valid EAD. Students cannot obtain a new GSI, GSRA, or GSSA appointment without a valid EAD.

Can I renew DACA to keep my Employment Authorization Document (EAD) current?

Yes, as of November 2018, USCIS continues to accept applications for DACA renewals. Please visit the USCIS DACA Renewal Guidance page for the most up-to-date information regarding the program. If you have questions about your DACA status and wish to consult an immigration attorney, please contact Student Legal Services for a confidential discussion and referral.

What happens if my Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expires in the in the middle of my GSI, GSRA, or GSSA appointment?

Students are not eligible to work without a valid EAD. If your EAD expires in the middle of the semester, an email notification will be sent to the Human Resources contact person in your program and your appointment may be terminated. There are significant financial implications of a GSA position terminating in the middle of semester including rescinding the tuition payment, no additional salary, and canceling your health insurance. Please contact Rackham’s Graduate Student and Program Consultation Services at 734.764.4400 if you have questions or concerns.

Health Insurance

Can a person get GradCare without a social security number (SSN)?

Yes. All students need to complete the regular enrollment process through Wolverine Access within the first 30 days of the appointment. You can also add eligible dependents who do not have a SSN to your health insurance during the enrollment process.

Are undocumented and DACAmented students eligible for International Student/Scholar Health Insurance (IHI)?

No. International students with an F-1 or J-1 visa issued by U-M Ann Arbor are required to have health insurance coverage while at the university. Since undocumented and DACAmented students do not have an F-1 or J-1 visa, they are not eligible for the U-M International Health Insurance (IHI) plan.

Low Cost Legal Advice

Student Legal Services supports currently enrolled students here on the Ann Arbor campus with their legal issues. They cover a wide range of legal areas of interest. These include landlord tenant disputes, divorce, family law, and criminal defense. They are staffed by five attorneys, and students can meet with the attorney knowledgeable about the student’s particular legal concern.

Community Based Legal Advice

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC), a legal resource center for advocates seeking equal justice for Michigan’s immigrants, provides direct representation to low-income immigrants in priority areas, and can provide referrals to other reputable organizations and private attorneys serving immigrants. Please see MIRC’s website for more information about its projects, services, and resource library. For more information about how MIRC can assist you or provide you with the appropriate referral please call the Intake Line 734.239.6863 Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or email [email protected]. All MIRC’s services are free and confidential.

Students who wish to assess their eligibility for DACA or DACA-related benefits like advance parole travel authorization, or to apply for or renew DACA benefits, should consult an experienced immigration lawyer for legal advice or for legal assistance in applying for this benefit. Individuals who believe they are eligible should also be aware of immigration fraud and scams. Students should visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for tips on filing forms, reporting scams, and finding accredited legal services. Advice from the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) is also available.

Please note that the immigration status of students who are undocumented or DACAmented is typically outside the expertise offered by the U-M International Center. This office is responsible for the university’s compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations related to F and J visa categories, which includes federal reporting through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Academic and Graduate Community

Academic Interest Groups

Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIW) are self-organized groups of students and faculty around a common topic of interest. An RIW could be created to explore areas such as immigration and/or undocumented identity. Currently, there is an RIW, Border Collective, which explores ways that art and politics intersect in cultural production related to physical and metaphorical borders, with a primary focus on the United States-Mexico border.

The Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association (MILLA) engages in community-based advocacy and organizing on labor, immigration, and low-wage and immigrant worker issues in Michigan. MILLA collaborates with local legal advocates and community organizations to support immigrant and workers’ rights movements on campus and in the community. Contact: Alexandra Reed.

First-Generation Students

Rackham is an active member of a campus-wide committee advocating for students who are first in their family to pursue higher education. These students may face challenges unique to their status as first‐generation students. Here are some of the ways Rackham supports these students:

  • A Fall Welcome lunch; networking socials for faculty, staff, and students during the academic year
  • Email [email protected] to be added to the first-generation graduate students mailing list
  • The First-Generation Support Network directory connects first-generation graduate students with supportive and/or similarly identified faculty and staff in informal mentoring relationships

Contact Information

Please contact Rackham’s Graduate Student and Program Consultation Services at 734.764.4400 if you have questions or concerns.