JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Resources for Non-Eligible, Non-Citizens

On September 5, 2017 the Trump administration announced that it would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, with a six-month wind-down during which no new applications will be accepted under the program.

DACA is a program through which undocumented young people brought to this country by their parents could get a temporary reprieve from deportation and receive permission to work, study and obtain driver's licenses. DACA participants voluntarily signed up for the program through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and their status was renewable every two years.

Universities and colleges across the country, as well as business and non-profit leaders, are calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or some other legislation that would provide those covered by DACA with a path to citizenship.

In the meantime, we recognize that the announcement creates significant uncertainty for those in the DACA program as well as other undocumented students and their families. As part of our mission to make college accessible and affordable for all families in Illinois, ISAC will continue to support and assist these students by providing information and assistance in navigating the college planning and financial aid processes. Non-eligible, non-U.S. citizens planning to attend college can find information and assistance, including legal and other support services through the following links. We will continue to update these resources as more information becomes available.

Illinois DREAM Act

On August 1, 2011, Governor Quinn signed the Illinois DREAM Act, contained in SB 2185 (Cullerton/Acevedo). Designed to make scholarships, college savings, and prepaid tuition programs available to undocumented students who graduated from Illinois high schools, the Act creates an Illinois DREAM Fund, and a nine-member Illinois DREAM Commission, appointed by the Governor with Senate consent.

The DREAM Fund Commission will raise contributions for the Illinois DREAM Fund, establish a not-for-profit entity to administer the Fund, publicize the availability of scholarships from the DREAM Fund, and select recipients.  The DREAM Fund Commission will also be responsible for researching issues pertaining to access and success of children of immigrants in higher education.  They will also develop and run training programs for high school counselors and admissions and financial aid staff.  Professional development activities for high school counselors will be required to include information on undocumented students’ opportunities in postsecondary education.

In order to receive a scholarship from the DREAM Fund, a student will have to meet the same requirements that now apply to receiving an in-state tuition rate at one of Illinois’s public universities: In addition to having at least one parent who immigrated to the U.S., the student must have lived with a parent or guardian while going to high school in Illinois, graduated from that high school or received a GED, and attended school in Illinois for at least three years before graduating or receiving a GED certificate.

The Illinois DREAM Act also makes the State’s 529 college savings and prepaid tuition programs available to Illinoisans with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, regardless of whether they have social security numbers.  This means that those undocumented Illinoisans with ITINs will be allowed to participate in both the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program and the Bright Start and Bright Directions college savings plans.