DACA and Undocumented FAQs for Students, Faculty, and Staff

September 2017

The following frequently asked questions and answers are intended to provide general information on matters of privacy, admissions, financial aid, taxes, travel and resources available to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and undocumented students.

In the aftermath of the recent action by the Trump Administration to rescind or “wind down” the DACA program, these FAQ’s have been updated.  Please check back for additional FAQs which may be added as updates are received. 

Community Values

1. What is the University’s position about DACA students?

In the words of President Christopher L. Eisgruber, “DACA is a wise and humane policy that has benefited this country in multiple ways.  It has allowed talented and motivated students, who came to this country as a result of decisions by their parents, to pursue their educations, develop their talents, and contribute positively to our communities and our country.  These young people deserve the opportunity not only to remain in this country, which for many is the only home they have known, but to be reassured that their devotion to this country is welcomed and valued.” 

2. What is Princeton’s policy about discrimination or harassment based on immigration status?

Princeton University strives to be an intellectual and residential community in which all members can participate fully and equally, in an atmosphere free from all manifestations of bias and from all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation.  As an intellectual community, it attaches great value to freedom of expression and vigorous debate, but it also attaches great importance to mutual respect and deplores expressions of hatred directed against any individual or group. 

Princeton’s Policy on Discrimination and/or Harassment prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of national origin or ethnicity.  An individual’s birthplace, ancestry, culture, association with specific national origin or ethnic groups, or immigration status can be considered a reflection of their national origin and ethnicity.  Therefore, discrimination or harassment based on immigration status may violate University policy.  

Privacy Issues

1. Do any federal laws protect the privacy of student records?

Yes.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal statute that protects the privacy of student records and controls the circumstances under which such records may be disclosed.  Princeton’s policy on “Student Privacy Rights under Federal Law” provides detailed information on FERPA and can be found in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities (RRR) 2017, Section 2.7, http://www.princeton.edu/pub/rrr/part2/index.xml#comp27.  

2. How does Princeton protect the privacy of students’ personal information?

Consistent with FERPA, Princeton’s general rule is not to disclose a student’s personal information to anyone outside the University—including government officials or law enforcement officers—without the student’s prior written consent. 

3. Are there exceptions to the general rule that Princeton won’t disclose a student’s personal information?

Yes, there are some limited circumstances in which certain information about a student may be available to the general public and/or the government.

First, unless a student submits a written request to the Registrar asking for confidentiality, the University may share the student’s “Directory Information”: the student’s name; telephone number; email address; photo; dates of attendance; major field of study; degrees and awards; school(s) attended prior to Princeton; participation in officially recognized activities, organizations, and athletic teams; and weight and height of members of athletic teams.  Princeton’s policy is to keep student addresses, dates of birth, and places of birth confidential, even though FERPA identifies that information as available for public disclosure.  All directory information can, however, be kept confidential if the affected student makes a written request to the Registrar.

Second, Princeton may be legally required to provide a student’s records to government officials or law enforcement officers if presented with a valid, lawful subpoena or comparably binding requirement (for example, a court order).  In that case, Princeton will ordinarily provide notice to the student whose records are requested before complying with the request.

Additional details are available in RRR Section 2.7, http://www.princeton.edu/pub/rrr/part2/index.xml#comp27.

4. Is there anything a student can do to further limit information available to the public?

Yes.  A student may request to have some or all directory information restricted from disclosure by making a written request to the Office of the Registrar at registrar@princeton.edu  specifying the information the student wants to be restricted.

5. What role does the University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) play in immigration enforcement?

Enforcement of immigration laws is primarily a federal responsibility.  DPS has not entered into any agreement with any federal law enforcement agency (including ICE) to assist with immigration enforcement.  Therefore, enforcing the immigration laws is not DPS’s mission, and DPS does not routinely gather information about the immigration status of members of the University community, including students.  In addition, DPS will not honor immigration detainer requests.  DPS does not ask victims or individuals reporting potential crimes about their immigration status. 

6.  What is a “sensitive location” in regard to actions taken by ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement)? 

“Pursuant to ICE policy, enforcement actions are not to occur at or be focused on sensitive locations such as schools, places of worship, unless:

  1. exigent circumstances exist,
  2. other law enforcement actions have led officers to a sensitive location, or
  3. prior approval is obtained from a designated supervisory official.

The policy is intended to guide ICE officers and agents’ actions when enforcing federal law at or focused on sensitive locations, to enhance the public understanding and trust, and to ensure that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so, without fear or hesitation.”  Details about the ICE policy on sensitive locations can be found at https://www.ice.gov/ero/enforcement/sensitive-loc.

7.  Is Princeton a “sanctuary campus”?

Immigration lawyers with whom the University has consulted have indicated that the concept of a “sanctuary campus” has no basis in law, and that colleges and universities have no authority to exempt any part of their campuses from the nation’s immigration laws. However, Princeton is committed to doing all it can to support undocumented and DACA students to the maximum extent that the law allows.  We have policies already in place to protect the privacy and safety of every member of the University community.  For example, we do not disclose private information about our students, faculty, or staff to law enforcement officers unless we are presented with a valid, lawful subpoena or comparably binding requirement.  We are actively reviewing this policy and other policies and practices to ensure that they fully protect all of our students, faculty, and staff, including our DACA students.  We will also ensure that affected members of our community know where they can turn for guidance and support on matters related to immigration, including to the very knowledgeable staff of the Davis International Center as well as other campus resources.

Undergraduate Admissions

1. What is Princeton’s admission policy for DACA or undocumented students?

At Princeton, we seek applications from highly qualified students regardless of their citizenship status.  Princeton’s admission and financial aid policies are the same for undocumented and DACA students as they are for all other students applying to the University for admission or financial aid.

2. How is the Admission staff trained about DACA?

The Admission staff and their affiliated representatives will receive additional training and information related to DACA and undocumented students to better answer inquiries related to the application process and campus resources.

Financial Aid / Funding Issues

1. What financial aid is available to DACA and undocumented students at Princeton? 

The University’s need-based financial aid program applies equally to all applicants.  If admitted, DACA and undocumented students can be confident that their full financial need, as determined by the financial aid office, will be met.

2. Are there funds to cover the filing fees for DACA students?

Yes, the Undergraduate Financial Aid Office will arrange to cover the cost of the DACA renewal filing fees for undergraduate students.   The grant can reimburse previously paid filing fees or can be used to cover the fee prior to filing.  Students should contact Ben Eley, Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid, 220 Morrison Hall (beley@princeton.edu), to arrange for a DACA filing fee grant. 

3. Are there funds to cover consultations with an immigration counsel for DACA/undocumented students and DACA faculty and staff?

Yes, the University is funding attorney consultations for DACA/undocumented students, and DACA faculty and staff, with an immigration law firm.  Students, faculty, and staff can consult the firm on general matters related to their immigration status as well as for assistance filing DACA renewal applications, if needed.  To the extent their initial consultations with counsel suggest that they have avenues for gaining permanent residency or other adjustment of their immigration status, the University will also provide legal support for their efforts to obtain such adjustment.  DACA students should send an email as soon as possible to Jackie Leighton, Director of the Davis Center, at jleighto@princeton.edu to arrange a consultation.   To apply for legal support, any DACA faculty member, postdoctoral fellow, or other academic professional should contact Lisa Scalice, Assistant Dean of the Faculty, Office of the Dean of the Faculty (lscalice@princeton.edu) 609-258-4794, and any DACA staff member should contact Romy Riddick, Vice President, Office of Human Resources (rriddick@princeton.edu) 609-258-6674.

4. Can DACA/undocumented students be employed on campus?

DACA students who have a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) are allowed to continue to be employed on campus and must submit a completed I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form to the Student Employment Office in Financial Aid.  DACA students may seek further information from Benjamin Eley, Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid, 220 Morrison Hall (beley@princeton.edu).  Undocumented students are not eligible for employment and should consult with the Financial Aid Office to ensure that their needs are met without on campus or summer employment income.

Graduate Admissions

  1. The admissions policy and instructions for students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. legal permanent residents (including DACA and/or undocumented students) is available at https://gradschool.princeton.edu/policies/nonimmigrant-applicants.
  2. The current Graduate School admission policy states that graduate students must be in the country in a status that allows for legal employment authorization, which is required when they serve as AI’s (Assistants in Instruction) and AR’s (Assistant in Research).  DACA applicants may contact gs@princeton.edu for further information about the Graduate School policy.


1. How is campus employment income taxed?

DACA students who have questions about payroll taxes should contact Karen Murphy-Gordon, Non-Resident Tax and Compliance Reporting (NTCR) at ntcr@princeton.edu.

2.   How are scholarships taxed?

DACA and undocumented students who have questions about scholarship taxes should consult Ben Eley, Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid, at beley@princeton.edu.

3. Do DACA students need to file income tax forms?

DACA students who earned income during a calendar year while in valid DACA status are required to file taxes just like U.S. citizens.  The annual tax-filing deadline is usually April 15.  Specific DACA tax-filing resources can be found at United We Dream http://unitedwedream.org/daca-tips/taxes-daca-need-know/.  Other tax-filing resources can be found at Internal Revenue Service (IRS); NJ State TaxationPublication 519Form 1040 Instructions; and NJ 1040 Instructions.

Travel (Study Abroad, International Internships, Bridge Year, and other Educational Opportunities Abroad)

Following the September 5, 2017 rescission of the DACA program by the Trump Administration, with an abundance of caution, it is recommended that any DACA students who are currently overseas and have valid travel documents should return to the United States as soon as possible.  DACA students should not consider studying abroad at this time, since their ability to reenter the U.S. is considered too uncertain.  USCIS states on its website that they will not accept any new Advanced Parole (Form I-131) travel authorization applications and all pending advanced parole applications will be closed without approval.

Campus Resources

DACA and undocumented students are welcomed and encouraged to reach out to all campus resources, which can be helpful to their well-being and success.  Although many administrative offices on campus will be sensitive to the needs of all students, the contacts below are specifically available to assist with issues related to DACA and undocumented students.

Confidential Campus Resources

  1. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), Calvin Chin, Director cc23@princeton.edu 609-258-3285 
  2. Office of Religious Life (ORL), Matt Weiner, Associate Dean mcweiner@princeton.edu 609-258-6245
  3. Carebridge Assistance Program for faculty and staff, https://www.princeton.edu/hr/benefits/worklife/carebridge
  4. University Health Services, http://uhs.princeton.edu 609-258-3141 

Other Campus Resources

  1. Career Services, Evangeline Kubu, Interim Executive Director ekubu@princeton.edu 609-258-8436
  2. Davis International Center (general immigration information), Jackie Leighton, Director jleighto@princeton.edu 609-258-5012
  3. Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Understanding, Tennille Haynes, Director thaynes@princeton.edu609-258-5895
  4. Emergency Campus Funding Resources
    1. Dean’s Emergency Fund, Mike Olin, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students molin@princeton.edu 609-258-3052
    2. Medical Emergency Funds (Special Needs Funds), Diane Cook, Coordinator, Health Promotion and Prevention Services dcook@princeton.edu 609-258-4842
  5. Financial Aid and Student Employment Office, Benjamin Eley, Associate Director beley@Princeton.edu609-258-3330
  6. Financial Aid for Freshmen Scholars Institute/Scholars Institute Fellows Program (FSI/SIFP), Elizabeth Badger, Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid badger@princeton.edu 609-258-3330
  7. The Graduate School, Aly Kassam-Remtulla, Acting Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion akassam@princeton.edu 609-258-8003
  8. Non-Resident Tax Compliance and Reporting Office, Karen Murphy-Gordon, Analyst km5@Princeton.edu 609-258-3734
  9. Office of Admissionuaoffice@princeton.edu 609-258-3060
  10. Office of the Dean of the College, Khristina Gonzalez, Associate Dean,
    Freshman Scholars Institute/Scholars Institute Fellows Program (FSI/SIFP) kfg2@princeton.edu 609-258-1013
  11. Office of the Dean of the Faculty (DOF), Lisa Scalice lscalice@princeton.edu 609-258-4794
  12. Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Students (ODUS), Kathleen Deignan, Dean kdeignan@princeton.edu 609-258-5431
  13. Office of Human Resources, Romy Riddick rriddick@princeton.edu 609-258-6674
  14. The Pace Center for Service and Civic Engagement, Evan M. Schneider, Program Coordinator emschnei@princeton.edu 609-258-7443
  15. Payroll Office, Lora Benson, Payroll Manager lorab@princeton.edu 609-258-6056 
  16. Registrar’s Office, Jonathan LeBouef, Associate Registrar jlebouef@princeton.edu 609-258-3363
  17. Residential Colleges, Mike Olin, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students molin@princeton.edu 609-258-3052
  18. Pre-Health Prep/Health Professions Advising http://hpa.princeton.edu/pre-health-prep/information-daca-students

Legal Resources

  1. The Davis International Center is a good place to start with your general immigration questions about DACA or undocumented issues http://www.princeton.edu/intlctr/news/archive/?id=18248
  2. Other Low-cost or free DACA/undocumented legal resources:
    1. Educators for Fair Consideration (E4C) http://e4fc.org/home.html
    2. New Jersey Immigration Advocates
  3. U.S. Citizenship and Homeland Security (USCIS) DACA resources https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca:
  4. National Immigration Law Center https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/
  5. Immigration Advocates Network app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/immigo/id891595380?mt=8  or https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.probononet.immigo&hl=en
  6. Beyond Deferred Action: Long-Term Immigration Remedies Every Undocumented Young Person Should Know About http://www.e4fc.org/images/E4FC_BDAGuide.pdf
  7. Red Cards (to help people assert their rights and protections) https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards
  8. Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC): Immigrant Rights under a Trump Administration  https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/kyr_two_pager.pdf

Advocacy Resources

  1. Princeton Dream Team (Pace Center) https://pace.princeton.edu/get-involved/dream-team
  2. Educators for Fair Consideration (E4C) http://e4fc.org/home.html
  3. The Dream.US resource library http://www.thedream.us/resources/
  4. United We Dream http://unitedwedream.org/
  5. United We Dream https://unitedwedream.org/
  6. Immigration Advocates Network app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/immigo/id891595380?mt=8  or https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.probononet.immigo&hl=en
  7. College Board’s Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/professionals/repository-of-resources-for-undocumented-students.pdf
  8. U.S. Department of Education’s list of scholarships available to undocumented students (pgs. 38 – 42)  https://www.nacacnet.org/globalassets/documents/knowledge-center/undocumented-students/supporting-undocumented-youth-ed-2015.pdf