DACA and Undocumented Student FAQ


Q: Do I need to have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to apply to Penn?
A: Any person can apply to Penn regardless of citizenship status or country of origin.

Q: Is admission need-blind or need-aware for undocumented students?

A: Students with American, Mexican, and Canadian citizenship and residency meet Penn’s requirements for need-blind admissions. Students from countries other than USA, Mexico, and Canada are under need-aware policies.

Q: If I am admitted as an undocumented student without health care, how can I seek medical treatment while at Penn?

A: All Penn students are required to have some form of medical insurance. Undocumented students qualify for the Penn Student Insurance Plan (PSIP) so they can receive care at Student Health Service and other providers. Students in traditional undergraduate programs without the means to pay for PSIP may receive assistance from Student Financial Services (SFS) to cover the cost.

Q: Once admitted, how should I travel to Philadelphia to begin my studies at Penn?
A: Please consult legal resources to ensure that changing current events have not impacted ease of travel. Generally, domestic flights require an official government identification for which students can present currently valid passports from their countries of citizenship. Students should contact the local consular office of their country of citizenship to inquire about obtaining a valid passport. DACA students with a work permit may use their permit as ID. Students should travel with their Penn admissions letter and other relevant information, such as high school transcript, attesting to their student status.

Q: As an undocumented Penn student, will I be able to pursue summer internships or research opportunities?
A: Undocumented students with DACA may apply to a range of pre-professional opportunities, but are ineligible for positions that require citizenship, such as jobs in the federal government. Students without DACA could qualify for internships with stipends. See “External Resources” for more information.

Financial Aid

Visit Student Financial Services (SFS) for even more useful information.

Q: As an undocumented student, am I eligible for financial aid at Penn?
A: Yes, undocumented students in traditional undergraduate programs are eligible for institutional financial aid in the form of Penn grants, which do not need to be repaid. They must complete the CSS Profile and the Penn Financial Aid Supplement Form (PFAS). Visit SFS for more specific information.

Q: What kind of financial aid does Penn offer?
A: Penn is proud of its need-blind admissions policy for undergraduate students who hold American, Mexican, and/or Canadian citizenship. An applicant’s financial need is considered for citizens from other countries than the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Penn promises to meet the demonstrated financial need of all admitted traditional undergraduate students, for eight semesters. Undocumented students qualify for institutional aid in the form of Penn grants. Students and families may opt to borrow to pay for the expected family contribution. (Please note: Students in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies are not eligible for Penn’s grant-based financial aid program.)

Q: As an undocumented student, can I take out a loan?

A: Undocumented students with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen can borrow from private lenders. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial assistance, including federal loans. Student Financial Services will work closely with undocumented students to review borrowing options.

Q: Are undocumented students eligible for financial aid for summer courses?

A: All students go through the same process to apply for summer financial aid. Contact Student Financial Services for more information.

Q: I don’t have a bank account, how can I manage my money at Penn?

A: SFS Advisors will work with students to review local banking or credit union options and can help students set up a direct deposit account to facilitate transfer of funds.

Campus Life

Q: Can I do study abroad, international research or global internships if I am undocumented, with or without DACA status?
A: Effective September 5, 2017, DACA status students are no longer eligible to apply for advanced parole permission to travel abroad. Undocumented students with or without DACA status are strongly advised against international travel due to the risks associated with leaving and re-entering the country without necessary immigration documents.

Q: Will my immigration status impact my ability to join or lead Penn student organizations?
A: Penn has more than 600 student organizations. Most groups do not require background checks, but some organizations that work with minor children require background checks. Groups that receive federal funding may impose restrictions that could impact undocumented students.