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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have work authorization to apply for undergraduate admissions?

No. You do not need to have work authorization to be considered for admission for undergraduate or graduate school. 

Do I need to be a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient to go to UC San Diego?

No. You do not need to be a DACA recipient to be considered for admission for undergraduate or graduate school.

Can an undocumented student apply to graduate programs at UC San Diego? 

Yes! Undocumented students can apply to be considered for admission to a graduate program at UC San Diego and other UC campuses.

Is there financial aid for undocumented students in graduate programs?

Yes, but the aid varies. Undocumented students in graduate school who have AB540 classification and submit a CA Dream Act application are eligible for $4,000 in Dream Loans per year, up to a maximum of $20,000. Other financial aid may be available through the graduate program so you must contact your program coordinator to ask about fellowships, stipends, and other awards that may be available. 

If I lose my DACA status, can I still attend UC San Diego and receive financial aid? 

Yes! DACA does not impact your eligibility for financial aid or student status.

Is financial aid available for undocumented students?

Yes. Undocumented students can receive financial aid but there are some limitations. Click here for more information on what’s available. 

Can I apply for jobs or internships on Handshake even if I don’t have DACA or work authorization? 

Unfortunately, no. If you are applying for a position advertised as a paid job or internship, you will need to have work authorization and there is no way around that. Every year, we see students who do not have work authorization apply for jobs that they have to turn down because the employer asks them to produce work authorization. We discourage students from engaging in this practice. We invite you to make an appointment with our program manager or program coordinator to discuss alternative options. 

What can I do if I want to gain hands-on experience related to my career or graduate school aspirations?

Make an appointment with our program coordinator to discuss participating in our PACE Fellowship programs

I’m concerned about how close UC San Diego is to the border. How dangerous is it to live in La Jolla and the surrounding area?

It is a fact that UC San Diego is the UC campus that is closest to the U.S.-Mexico border, but you will not see the border anywhere from campus. UC San Diego is located in La Jolla which has minimum immigration enforcement activity. Long time residents of San Diego county often see more or equal border enforcement activity in other parts of the state such as LA County and the Bay Area. 

I hear that there are Border Patrol checkpoints surrounding San Diego Country, is this true?

Unfortunately, this is true. There are a minimum of 6 border patrol checkpoints surrounding the outskirts of the county. The two most common checkpoints are those on the I5 and I15 Freeways. These checkpoints are not always in operation and it is unpredictable when they become active but they are visible. We encourage students to meet with our program manager and program coordinator to discuss travel that requires crossing the checkpoints.   

Is my and my family’s information safe with UC San Diego? 

Yes! UC San Diego is committed to maintaining the highest standards of student data privacy through its implementation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the UC Principles in Support of Undocumented Members of the UC Community. Learn more here 

Is it safe to apply for CA Dream Act Financial Aid? I’m concerned about sharing my parent’s information on the application. 

It is safe. Here’s what the California Student Aid Commission has to say about this.

“The California Student Aid Commission has strict security and confidentiality policies and procedures in place to protect the integrity and confidentiality of student records. The California Student Aid Commission has not now, or in the past, shared any information which would indicate a student's immigration status, either documented or undocumented. The California Student Aid Commission also adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.”

Have a question we did not answer? Please email us at undoc@ucsd.edu