Can undocumented students attend Rutgers University?

Yes. Undocumented immigrants are welcome to apply to Rutgers and should follow the same steps for admission as any other applicant.  Students should carefully review the Rutgers University application requirements.

Rutgers online admission application does ask for citizen and immigration status of applicants, but provides options for Status Pending (SP) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) options.

Do undocumented students qualify for in-state tuition?

On December 20, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act, commonly referred to as the New Jersey Dream Act.

The Law, now in effect, allows undocumented students who meet certain criteria to qualify for the in-state tuition rates at all of New Jersey’s public institutions of higher education. Undocumented students can pay in-state tuition if the student:

  • Attended a high school in New Jersey for three or more years, and
  • Graduated from a high school in New Jersey or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey, and
  • Registers as an entering student or is currently enrolled in a public institution in New Jersey, and
  • Files an affidavit with the college or university stating that the student has filed an application to legalize immigration status or will file an application as soon as the student is eligible to do so.  Student information submitted in affidavit is a part of the student’s record and kept private.

Can undocumented students receive financial assistance?

Undocumented students, including those that utilize the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act, are not eligible for federal education grants and/or loans.

Undocumented students, including those that utilize the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act, are also not eligible for state financial aid from the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

Undocumented students may be eligible for private and foundation scholarships.  Students can search for scholarships on the Office of Financial Aid’s website.

Does Rutgers provide free or low cost immigration services to undocumented students?

Yes.  The Immigrant Rights Clinic through Rutgers Law in Newark serves the immigrant population through a combination of individual client representation and broader advocacy projects. Under faculty supervision, students represent immigrants seeking various forms of relief from removal, including asylum for persecuted individuals; protection for victims of human trafficking; protection for battered immigrants; protection for victims of certain types of crimes; protection for abused, abandoned, or neglected immigrant children; and cancellation of removal.  Students can contact the clinic by calling 973-353-5292.


The Student Legal Services Office at Rutgers University-New Brunswick provides students with access to high quality and confidential immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship. A staff attorney will provide one-on-one consultations to assess participants’ eligibility for legal benefits at no cost to the student.   Staff attorneys will then assist students with getting connected to a local immigration attorney for assistance with legal services needed. Legal services through local attorneys are typically provided to students at costs lower then market rate.  You can call 848-932-4529 or email to schedule an appointment with an attorney.

What health care options are available to undocumented students?

All students, regardless of citizen and immigration status, are eligible for health care at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.  Full-time students are required to show proof of health insurance.     Undocumented students have the option of enrolling in the Student Health Insurance Plan.  The Student Health Insurance Plan is serviced by University Health Plans and underwritten by UnitedHealthcare Student Resources (UHCSR).   Students must enroll in the insurance program each semester.  Details on insurance can be found on the Student Health Insurance Page.

Rutgers Student Health Services provides on campus medical facilities for illness and wellness visits.  There is also an on-campus pharmacy.  In addition, students can receive mental health services through the Counseling, ADAP and Psychiatric Services (C.A.P.S.) Office.

What career options are available for undocumented students?

Undocumented students should carefully consider their proposed course of study before beginning a major.  Some professions, such as teaching, social work, nursing, pharmacy, and other positions in the medical field, will have licensing requirements.  Some majors include academic requirements for workplace internships that will require employment or a background check before the student begins.  Staff members in Rutgers Career Services are available to career advice and information.  Students can also check academic program requirements for specific majors on academic websites.

What is Deferred Action for Childhoods Arrivals (DACA)?

Currently, DACA is an executive order issued by President Obama on June 15 2012, which gives the authority to the Department of Homeland Security to grant deferred action to certain individuals who came to the United States as children for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.  To learn more visit the USCIS website: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

What are the benefits of applying for DACA?

Some benefits of deferred action may include:

  • work authorization
  • social security number
  • driver’s license (depending on the state you live in)

This benefit would allow undocumented students to work both on campus and off campus, and participate in both paid and unpaid internships.  In terms of career options, the NJ Supreme has yet to decide whether a DACA law student is eligible to sit for the Bar.  The NJ Nursing Licensing Board does allow DACA recipients to obtain nursing licenses.

What is the criteria to apply for DACA?

You may request DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Is DACA going away? Should I even apply for it? Could my application be used against me?

There are questions regarding the future of the DACA program. President Trump said that he intends to end the DACA program. However, he has not said exactly if, when, or how he might do this. Nor do we know what his administration’s officials might do with the information that DACA applicants have submitted on their applications.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed on January 23 that USCIS is still accepting and processing DACA applications, despite the possibility that that the DACA program might be terminated.

Additional questions regarding DACA can be answered on the National Immigration Law Center website.