DACA, Undocumented, and Pending Asylum

IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recent Supreme Court ruling may effect students eligibility to apply for DACA.  Students should check the USCIS website for updates as they become available.

DACA

The Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia published an opinion on April 29, 2014, regarding the ability of students who have been approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to qualify for in-state tuition charges at Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

Here are some key points regarding the Attorney General’s opinion:

  • The opinion does NOT automatically grant in-state tuition charges to all DACA students.
  • The opinion does NOT mean that all DACA students will be able to show they are eligible for in-state tuition charges, even if they lived in Virginia for more than one year.

To qualify for in-state tuition charges in Virginia, DACA students:


Undocumented Students and Pending Asylum

Undocumented students, those pending Asylum, or other students who are not eligible for in-state tuition by establishing domicile, may qualify through § 23.1-506 (high school completion exception).

All students who meet the criteria are eligible for in-state tuition regardless of citizenship or immigration status (with the exception of F, H3, J, or M visas).  This provision also applies to U.S. Citizens.

To qualify you must have:

  1. Attended high school (public or private high school, or program of home instruction) for at least two years in the Commonwealth
  2. Graduated on or after July 1, 2008 (or passed on or after July 1, 2008, a high school equivalency examination approved by the Secretary of Education);
  3. Submit evidence that you, or, in the case of a dependent student, at least one parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis has filed, unless exempted by state law, Virginia income tax returns for at least two years prior to the date of registration or enrollment; and
  4. Register as an entering student or enrolled in a public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth.

How to Apply

  1. Complete the Request for Tuition Reclassification Form.
  2. If you would prefer to not indicate your immigration status and would only like to be reviewed based on the high school completer exception, upload a document stating this instead of immigration documentation.
  3. Make sure to answer questions regarding high school attendance.

FAQ

  • High school refers to the freshmen (grade 9), sophomore (grade 10), junior (grade 11) and senior (grade 12) years. School attendance during lower grade levels does not count toward the requirement.  These years need not be successive.
  • Attendance and graduation do not need to be immediately prior year to enrollment in an institution of higher education.
  • In loco parentis means “in place of a parent,” or “instead of a parent,” and refers to situations in which someone other than a biological parent takes on the role of parent to a dependent child without formally adopting the child.
  • The person acting “in loco parentis” must be acting in place of (not on behalf) of a parent.
  • Individuals with taxable earnings in another state cannot claim an exemption based on the income not having been earned in the Commonwealth.
  • Information gathered under this provision may only be used for determining eligibility for in-state tuition under this provision.
  • This provision is effective Fall 2020.  It does not apply to any term beginning prior to July 1, 2020.
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Disclaimer

This web site and accompanying materials have been prepared by the George Mason University Office of the University Registrar for informational purposes only, and may not be construed as "Legal Advice" or an official determination of eligibility for in-state tuition by the Office of the University Registrar.

Because this web site is not intended to be a determination of eligibility for in-state tuition, the reader should not rely on any information provided in this website as such.

It is incumbent on the student to apply for change in domiciliary status on becoming eligible for such change. Changes in domiciliary status shall only be granted prospectively from the date such application is received.