Undocumented Student Information
Wenatchee Valley College is committed to supporting undocumented students.
It is important to remember that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (1974) prohibits schools from providing any outside agency—including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—with any information from a student's school file that would expose their immigration status. Immigration status should be treated like other student information, such as participation in Running Start or receiving accommodations from Disability Access Services.
College employees should only inquire about a student's immigration status:
- If it is beneficial to the support of student's educational goals.
- To evaluate appropriate access to the same educational opportunities as all students.
- To ensure that students are exposed to learning experiences that focus on college aspirations.
Even after, the information given to the college staff should remain confidential.
On February 26, 2014, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the REAL Hope Act (SB 6523) also known as the Washington Dream Act. This new law expands eligibility for the Washington State Need Grant to non-citizens who meet the program’s eligibility requirements in addition to all three residency criteria listed below. Students must:
- Have graduated from a Washington high school or obtained a GED in Washington, and
- Have lived in Washington for three years prior to, and continuously since, earning the high school diploma or equivalent, and
- Sign a HB 1079 affidavit (written promise) to file an application to become a permanent
resident of the United States when eligible to apply
*Students granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) must also complete and sign the HB 1079 affidavit.
The Washington Student Achievement Council has provided a new state application for students who are unable to complete a FAFSA due to their immigration status. This free application — known as the Washington Application for State Financial Aid, or the WASFA — will allow non-citizens to apply for student financial aid in Washington State. “WASFA replaces the FAFSA for undocumented students in Washington State” Upon successful completion of a WASFA, the college(s) chosen by the student will use the financial information provided in the application to determine eligibility to receive the Washington State Need Grant.
*Please note that the information provided by the student to the institution and the WASFA is protected and will not be shared with a third party, since it is protected through FERPA.
The WASFA application is now available at readysetgrad.org.
A guide to understanding this law
Effective July 1, 2003, Washington state law changed the definition of “resident student” allowing certain students eligible for resident student status - and eligible to pay resident tuition rates when they attend public colleges or universities in this state. This bill allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates. Although, this law does make college more affordable for undocumented students, it does not make these students eligible to receive federal financial aid. In addition, the law does not make these students eligible to work legally in the United States.
Do I qualify for in-state tuition under HB 1079?
Have you resided in Washington State for three (3) years immediately prior to receiving a high school diploma, and completed the full senior year at a Washington high school;
Completed the equivalent of a high school diploma and resided in Washington State for the three (3) years immediately before receiving the equivalent of a diploma;
Continuously resided in the State since earning the high school diploma or its equivalent.
If you meet the above requirements, then YES! You qualify for in-state tuition under HB 1079.
I'm eligible! What comes next?
- After you fill out the admission application for the college, you can sign the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit. Note: If you are still in high school, you will need to wait until you graduate in order to turn the affidavit in.
- You can also find the affidavit in the admissions office and it should also be available to you at any high school, college, or university in the state.
- Lastly, submit the HB1079 affidavit to your college admissions office.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Learn more about this program and current updates. There are informational forums and legal clinics for immigrant youth which take place through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. A list of local and state-wide resources for DACA students is also available online at:
"American dreams of young people will be cruelly ripped away," op-ed by Washington Governor Jay Inslee published on CNN.com, August 24, 2017.
Northwest Immigrants’ Rights Project offers information and educational forums on next steps on the DACA Rescission.
National Immigration Law Center offers information and support for next steps on the DACA Rescission.
- US Homeland Security “exercise(s) its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action for any reason, at any time, with or without notice.” Read the DHS "Frequently Asked Questions: Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)."
Resources for Undocumented Students
A list of both state-wide and locally known organizations are available on our WVC DREAMers Taskforce page. Students can access services and find out more about the local and state-wide advocacy movements. Among the list is the Washington Dream Act Coalition (Facebook page) and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Visit the WVC dreamers page and find out more on Washington state organizations that support undocumented students.
A number of scholarships are available for DACA and undocumented students. You can apply for both local and state-wide scholarships. Wenatchee Valley College offers various scholarships to help undocumented students continue on with their education. Visit our Scholarships page.
Resources for Faculty and Staff
These materials are from Educators for Fair Consideration:
You can succeed: 5 tips for Undocumented Students
- You can’t do this alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Find other students who can be role models and mentors.
- Form strong relationships with professors, counselors and mentors with whom you can speak honestly and openly about your challenges.
- Be creative. Don’t take no for an answer.
- Believe in yourself. Know that you have value to your family, your community, your classmates, and your country.