A person walking in front of the large blue and yellow Flying N logo that hangs outside a University office

Northeastern community raises money for DACA renewal assistance

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Northeastern Illinois University community has raised nearly $8,000 to assist undocumented students with the cost of renewing their status in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The $495 DACA renewal fee, which protects some immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, can be daunting for students who already are paying tuition and fees, among other living expenses. More than 280 members of Northeastern’s current student body have self-identified as undocumented.

“Undocumented students do not qualify for state or federal financial aid. They often work two or three jobs while having to excel in their academics in order to pay for tuition and other expenses and to help their families,” said Luvia Moreno, director of Northeastern’s Undocumented Student Resources office. “Added to this stress is the worry about how to fund their next DACA renewal application, which allows them to continue to be employed and protects them from deportation for two years. This DACA renewal scholarship will certainly remove some of the added stress and frustration our students are feeling, especially in this uncertain political climate.”

Currently enrolled students may now apply for assistance. The deadline to apply is Nov. 30. Applicants must show proof of financial need, and their DACA permit must expire within the next 12 months.

A committee comprised of NEIU students, the director of Undocumented Student Resources and a faculty member will review all applications and make decisions based on the stipulated criteria and most immediate need.

In total, the NEIU Foundation will award the entire $7,942.94 that was raised, assisting as many as 32 current students. (Applicants may select whether to apply for the full $495 or half in order to ensure more students can receive assistance.)

“I am always amazed by the resilience and grit of our undocumented students,” Moreno said. “I applaud their self-advocacy and I look up to them for guidance on how to continue to improve the services and resources NEIU has to offer. It is thanks to undocumented student self-advocacy that Northeastern is seen as one of the most undocu-friendly institutions in Illinois, and we continue to work on searching for ways to ensure our students feel welcome and supported.”

While fundraising for this initiative has concluded, donors may still contribute to funds designed to help undocumented students through the NEIU Foundation by selecting “Other” in the Designation category and typing in the name of the preferred fund:

Aspire Scholarship
An endowed scholarship fund established by President Emerita Salme Harju Steinberg and other generous donors, this is Northeastern’s answer to President Obama’s Dream Relief Policy and the State of Illinois’ state version of the Dream Act. This scholarship supports tuition costs.

Dr. Daniel López, Jr., Endowment Scholarship
As a former undocumented student, Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel López, Jr., established this endowed fund to support student emergency situations, programming, travel, co-curricular activities and more. This fund also will sponsor one DACA renewal.

The Undocumented Student Project
This fund supports Northeastern’s operation of Undocumented Student Resources (formerly Undocumented Student Project). This includes but is not limited to support for programs, scholarship applications and fees.

In addition to these scholarships, undocumented students are eligible to apply for virtually all scholarships offered by the NEIU Foundation.