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PACE Fellowship Program

Applications for cohort in 24-25 academic year is now open. Deadline is June 14, 2024 at 11:59 P.M.

What is the PACE Fellowship Programs?

The Personal and Career Experience (PACE) Fellowship program provides AB 540 & CA Dream Act undergraduate students opportunities to participate in an experiential learning opportunity (ELO) on campus that incorporates mentorship, professional and scholastic development with financial aid support. Students who participate in the program receive up to a $7,000 scholarship distributed through the Financial Aid Office. The PACE Fellowship program follows a cohort-based learning model

Undocumented Student Services (USS) developed the PACE program in response to the need for inclusive fellowships at UC San Diego. "Inclusive Fellowships" (a term coined by Immigrants Rising) for undocumented students are experiential learning opportunities hosted by campus units or departments that provide aid (e.g., stipends, grants, or scholarships) for the participating fellow regardless of the student's immigration status.

Inclusive fellowships do not require recipients to have work authorization or a social security number, but require eligibility for state financial aid. Inclusive fellowships are flexible mechanisms by which educational institutions support the learning and professional development needs of undocumented students who are unable to secure a campus job or internship.

PACE Fellowship Program Guidelines and Expectations

Participants of the PACE Fellowship Program learn under the guidance of a mentor associated with an on-campus host site. The mentorship provided is critical in helping students thrive and learn important skills needed to be successful in the professional world of work. Students work with their mentor to design and implement an experiential learning opportunity aligned with their personal interests and professional needs.

In addition to working with a mentor, students meet regularly with their cohort to develop community, participate in discussions, and present a project connected to their host site.

The PACE Fellowship Program was created following the guidance of Immigrants Rising in conjunction with UCSD’s outlined Competencies. For Fellows, Mentors and Hosts interested in participating in the program, please note that there are required expectations for each position (see the section below).

Required Expectations of PACE Fellows

  1. Complete all program requirements for the 2024-25 academic year:  
    1. Commit to 8-10 hours weekly in an experiential learning opportunity (ELO) for the entire 2024-25 academic year.
    2. Enroll in AIP PACE Course all three quarters and attened class weekly
      • Class time TBD
      • Class is for Pass/No Pass
      • The class must be attended in person, no exceptions 
    3. Attend PACE Orientation in September/October - In person
    4. Visit USS space 20 hours per quarter to study or hang out 
    5. Participate in end of year Symposium
    6. Participate in program assessment and self assessment

For students unsure how to start the process, check out our How to Find a Host/Mentor and Developing an ELO guides.We highly recommend reviewing these documents before applying!

Still having a hard time finding an ELO after using these guides? Review our Experiential Learning Opportunity Directory

Financial Support from Campus Departments

Undocumented Student Services (USS) is encouraging departments to contribute a portion of the annual scholarship granted to students participating in the PACE Fellowship Program. Due to limitations imposed by federal funding restrictions, financial aid opportunities for undocumented students pursuing undergraduate degrees are restricted. Consequently, undocumented students face a significantly smaller pool of financial support. By receiving financial backing from departments, USS can extend financial assistance to more PACE Fellows throughout the academic year, ensuring tailored programming that addresses the unique needs of undocumented students. 

Undocumented Student Services is requesting that departments match at least 50% or more of the $7,000 scholarship awarded to PACE Fellows. If departments have the resources and approval, they are encouraged to fully fund the PACE Fellow. In the event that a department is unable to provide any funding to the PACE Fellowship Program, we ask that it not deter you from mentoring or hosting a PACE student. 

Host/Mentor Application

Campus departments are you interested in hosting or mentoring a PACE fellow? Complete the host/mentor interest form.

Experiential Learning Opportunity Directory

Click here to explore Experiential Learning Opportunities being offered for the 2024-25 PACE Fellowship ProgramIf you are interested in learning more about a specific ELO, please make an appointment with Pricila Rodriguez here to get you connected to the Host Department. Please don't reach out to the Host Department on your own, as the PACE program is a collaboration between USS and the Host Department, therefore all parties need to be present to have an informative discussion.

PACE Application

Students are you interested in participating in the PACE Fellowship Program? Apply here! The most up-to-date applications can be found on our LinkTree. Contact Program Coordinator, Pricila Rodriguez (, for additional information.

Please note that this is a minimum 3-week application process and cannot be done a week before it's due. The deadline has been extended to June 14th, 2024. This is a hard deadline for current students enrolled at UCSD, accommodations will only be made for extenuating circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the PACE Fellowship Program open to students who do not have AB540 or CA Dream Act financial aid?

No, students who participate in PACE Fellowship program must have AB 540 and receive the CA Dream Act.

Is the PACE Fellowship Program open to graduate students?

No, unfortunately, at this time, the PACE Fellowship Program is not open to graduate students.  

Can an existing internship or student position be offered as the experiential learning opportunity for the PACE Fellowship Program?

No. An experiential learning opportunity cannot replace an existing paid position or employee. However, the learning opportunity offered can have similar responsibilities as an existing internship or student paid position — with the addition of holistic mentorship and consideration of the fellow’s professional and personal development needs.

If the host department submits a Host/Mentor Application, is it guaranteed that they will be assigned a PACE fellow for the experiential learning opportunity they are offering?

No. A host or mentor obtaining a student depends on the student’s interest in pursuing the experiential learning opportunity being offered. However, by filling out the Host/Mentor Application, we recognize that your department is open to hosting PACE fellows and may host fellows for future fellowship cohorts.

Do PACE fellows receive employee benefits when doing a PACE fellowship? Do they need to report the scholarship on their taxes

UC San Diego is not liable for injury sustained or health conditions that may arise during a student's participation in the PACE Fellowship Program. In addition, since this fellowship is not considered to be employment, you will not receive any of the employee benefits that regular UC-San Diego employees receive, including, but not limited to, health insurance, vacation or sick pay, paid holidays, or participation in the 401(k) plan. Fellowship stipends are not reported on a year-end tax form (either W-2 or Form 1099), but it may be necessary to self-report them on IRS Form 1040 and to make estimated tax payments directly to the IRS. Please check with your tax accountant regarding the need to make estimated tax payments.

Can a host department or mentor choose their assigned PACE fellow(s)?

Host departments and mentors have two choices and can select the one that best suits their needs. Please inform the USS team which options you would like to take when filling out the Host/Mentor Application.   


  1. Our team can facilitate the entire selection and matching process by assessing the needs of the host or mentor and the professional needs and qualifications of the students.  
  2. If campus partners desire involvement in the selection process, our team can present several student options for their consideration. Departments can then conduct interviews or employ other methods to decide on the PACE fellow to be assigned to the experiential learning opportunity being offered.

If the host department has funding available to support the scholarship of the PACE fellow they are hosting, are there any restrictions on how they can compensate PACE fellows?

Yes. Hosts can not use federal funds to compensate PACE fellows for their experiential learning opportunities. CA State, UC San Diego, private, and unrestricted funds can be used. Note that funding is provided and disbursed in the form of a scholarship through the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.

Can a host department assign more than one mentor to their PACE fellow?

Yes. More than one mentor can support the PACE fellow as long as the mentorship component is being provided to the student.

Can the host department have more than one PACE fellow?

Yes, as long as the mentor assigned has the capacity to provide holistic mentorship to all the PACE fellows they are hosting.

Can a fellowship commitment be terminated by the PACE fellow or the host/mentor, and if so, under what circumstances?

If the student or host/mentor wishes to discontinue their participation in the PACE Fellowship Program, we ask that they communicate with the USS Program Coordinator for guidance and support on how to move forward. We ask both hosts and fellows to not terminate their commitments without first communicating with the USS team.