FAQs

  • What is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and how does one qualify?

    DACA is a federal program that was established by executive action on June 15, 2012 by former President Barack Obama.  It provides temporary administrative relief from federal deportation laws and employment authorization (two years subject to renewal) to certain qualifying undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children before June 15, 2007.  DACA does not confer legal status or provide a pathway to becoming a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen.  Because DACA is not a federal law or regulation, it can be modified or rescinded at any time. 

    Only certain undocumented individuals who had no criminal history and met certain educational criteria were eligible for the program.  A complete list of the eligibility requirements for DACA is available at https://www.uscis.gov/archive/frequently-asked-questions.         

    On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced it was ending DACA.  Several lawsuits were subsequently filed against the administration challenging its decision to terminate the program.  The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on these cases on November 12, 2019.  A decision is expected no later than June 2020. 

    Pursuant to orders by lower courts, DACA recipients who currently have or previously had DACA can continue to submit applications to renew their DACA.  Individuals who have never had DACA are not eligible to submit first-time applications.  Information regarding the current status of DACA from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may be found at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-response-january-2018-preliminary-injunction.  If you have questions regarding your immigration status or eligibility for DACA, you are advised to consult a qualified immigration attorney.   

    MSU is unwavering in its commitment, anchored in our strong values of diversity, access, and inclusiveness, to creating a campus environment that welcomes all.  The University will continue to advocate for legislation in support of DACA and undocumented students.  Anyone who wishes to express a viewpoint on any state or federal policy or action should contact their elected representative.  Information on who your representatives are at the state and federal levels can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-5647_12539_29836-88535--,00.html. 

  • What resources are available to DACA or undocumented students on campus?

    MSU students receive access to all campus services regardless of immigration status, including confidential counseling for distressed students through MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services, academic support through their respective colleges, assistance navigating University policies and procedures, as well as understanding student rights and fair treatment through the Office of the Ombudsperson, certain legal guidance offered by ASMSU Student Legal Services and the Immigration Law Clinic at the MSU College of Law, and all other University programs and services.  The Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs and Services, Residence Education and Housing Services, and the Office for International Students and Scholars also offer support in the context of the student experience.   

    Contact information for these offices is as follows:

    Counseling and Psychiatric Services           (517) 355-8270                                 
    Office of the Ombudsperson (517) 353-8830 ombud@msu.edu
    ASMSU Student Legal Services (517) 355-8266 info@asmsu.edu
    MSU College of Law Immigration Law Clinic   (517) 432-6880 immig@law.msu.edu
    Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services (517) 355-7535 studentaffairs@msu.edu
    Residence Education and Housing Services (517) 884-5483 liveon@msu.edu
    Office for International Students and Scholars (517) 353-1720 oiss@msu.edu 

    Individuals uncertain about what office to reach out to for support are encouraged to contact Dr. Krista McCallum Beatty, Director of the Office for International Students and Scholars. The University recognizes the issues confronting DACA and undocumented students is uniquely different than those of international students. However, Dr. McCallum Beatty has expertise in advising on issues related to DACA and undocumented students and is the primary contact at the University for those with questions in this area. Dr. McCallum Beatty can be reached at (517) 353-1720 or kristamb@msu.edu.

  • Is U.S. citizenship required for admission to MSU?

    No.  MSU admits students based on academic qualifications regardless of their immigration status. 

  • How many undocumented and DACA recipients attend MSU?

    MSU does not know the population of undocumented or DACA students enrolled.  The University does not maintain a list of such students.

  • Is U.S. citizenship required to qualify for in-state tuition?

    All students, including those who are undocumented, are classified as in-state students for tuition purposes if they meet the criteria set forth in the Regulations for Qualifying for In-State Tuition.

  • Are undocumented or DACA students eligible for financial aid?

    Undocumented students, including DACA students, are not eligible for federal student aid.  However, such students may be eligible for state financial aid or private scholarships.  MSU also has merit scholarships for which all students are eligible to apply regardless of immigration status.  Students are encouraged to contact the MSU Office of Financial Aid at (517) 353-5940 or finaid@msu.edu to learn more.  Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, has also issued guidance on financial aid for undocumented students available at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/financial-aid-and-undocumented-students.pdf. 

  • Does the information in this FAQ regarding admissions, tuition, and financial aid differ for graduate students?

    No.

  • Are undocumented or DACA students eligible for on-campus employment?

    DACA students who have a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) are eligible to work on campus during the period of validity stated on the EAD, including work as Graduate Assistants. Students without employment authorization are not eligible to work for MSU.

  • What authority do federal immigration officials have to come on campus?

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a policy memorandum dated October 24, 2011, which states ICE enforcement actions (i.e. arrests, interviews, searches, and surveillance) cannot occur at nor focus on “sensitive locations,” including colleges and universities unless: (a) exigent circumstances exist; (b) other law enforcement actions have led officers to campus; or (c) the agent has obtained prior approval from ICE managers or supervisors. 

    Exigent circumstances exist when the enforcement action involves a national security or terrorism matter; there is an imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person or property; the enforcement action involves the immediate arrest or pursuit of a dangerous felon, terrorist suspect, or any other individual that presents an imminent danger to public safety; or there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to an ongoing criminal case.     

    ICE’s sensitive locations policy does not categorically prohibit law enforcement operations when there is an immediate need for enforcement action as outlined above.  This is also an agency policy not based in law or regulation, and may be modified or rescinded at any time. 

    The MSU Police Department (MSUPD) works closely with federal, state and municipal agencies and complies with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.  As part of these partnerships, outside law enforcement agencies are encouraged to provide notice to MSUPD prior to coming on campus.  While the MSUPD prefers agencies to comply with this request, it is not a requirement and the MSUPD cannot stop any agency with legal jurisdiction from coming on campus.  MSU’s public spaces are open to the general population, and the University does not have the ability to bar federal enforcement officials from the University’s public spaces.

    Residential spaces, such as on-campus residence halls, are considered private.  Federal enforcement officials are not permitted in such spaces absent a valid search warrant or consent from the resident.  An administrative warrant is civil in nature and does not, by itself permit, ICE officials to enter private, residential spaces absent consent.    

  • Why have federal immigration officials been seen on campus?

    There are many reasons why federal officials may contact MSU or be on campus, including routine compliance matters related to the University’s normal operations.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its enforcement agency, ICE, have broad authority.  Not all DHS officials are responsible for law enforcement.  MSU routinely interacts with federal officials on issues unconnected with DACA or undocumented students or employees.  For example, federal immigration officials may contact MSU or come to campus in connection with the University’s participation in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, and not for purposes of locating or detaining undocumented students.  Federal officials may also be invited to present in an academic program, such as explaining customs procedures to an international business class.  Federal agencies may also participate in a career fair. 

  • Does MSU share student information with federal immigration officials?

    The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits universities from releasing information from a student’s education records without consent, except under certain specified circumstances.  It is the policy of the University to comply with FERPA (Michigan State University Access to Student Information). 

    MSU vigorously defends students’ privacy rights and will not release information from student education records to outside parties, including federal immigration agents, without permission from the student, a judicial warrant, a subpoena, a court order, or as otherwise permitted by law.  FERPA permits the disclosure of directory information without written consent.  Disclosure of directory information about a student is not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy.  Information that MSU has designated as directory information is listed in the MSU Notification of Student Rights and Notice for Directory Information available at https://reg.msu.edu/read/NotificationandDirectoryInformationNotice.pdf.  Students may restrict the release of directory information by notifying the Office of the Registrar or updating their directory restrictions online at https://stuinfo.msu.edu/.  

  • Under what circumstances does MSU share student information with federal immigration officials?

    The Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that provides approval and oversight to schools authorized to enroll certain nonimmigrant students.  The SEVP provides that participating institutions are subject to on-site review or “certification visits” at any time, meaning that SEVP field representatives visiting the campus are authorized to obtain information about students on temporary student and training visas (i.e. F-1 visa or J-1 visa).  These visits are limited and generally consist of federal officials conducting document review.  This review does not include DACA or undocumented students.   

    Also, a FERPA exception provides that under the USA Patriot Act, federal officials may obtain information from a student’s education record without consent upon issuance of a court order alleging terrorist activities.  MSU will not release information to federal immigration officials without a validly issued subpoena, court order, or search warrant. 

    Except when related to the SEVP, faculty and staff should contact the Office of the General Counsel immediately if any federal official seeks to obtain immigration-related information about a student or employee.  The Office for International Students and Scholars should be consulted for any information request from SEVP.     

  • I am an MSU faculty or staff member. What should I do if a federal immigration official contacts me requesting information about a student?

    If a federal official contacts MSU personnel or appears unannounced at an office on campus, employees are directed to adhere to FERPA.  Pursuant to FERPA, education records of all students, regardless of immigration status are protected from disclosure to outside parties.  If the federal official seeks to review documents or interview students or employees, you should not feel compelled to assent without consultation with relevant University administrators.  If federal officials present themselves as law enforcement, you may contact the MSUPD to verify their authority.  If the federal official claims to have a subpoena or warrant, you should politely request a copy of it and the official’s business card.  You may also inform the federal official that you are not authorized to provide the requested information or approval, that you need to consult with a supervisor and will have someone timely follow up with the federal official.  Contact the Office of the General Counsel immediately for further guidance.    

    A common request from the FBI to a faculty member is for a reference for a former student who is seeking a security clearance as part of an employment application. 

  • What is the MSUPD’s procedures related to questioning and apprehending undocumented individuals?

    The MSUPD values the University’s diverse campus community.  Every day, MSUPD officers and staff work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of the campus.  MSUPD is a service-oriented agency whose primary responsibility is keeping the campus safe by assisting those in need of help. 

    The MSUPD does not inquire about a person’s immigration status during the general course of its work.  The MSUPD does not detain any individual based solely on the belief that the person is not present in the U.S. legally or has committed a civil immigration violation.  The MSUPD does not detain persons pursuant to an ICE detainer or make arrests based on administrative ICE warrants absent an exigent public safety emergency.  In responding to a call or a report, the MSUPD is primarily concerned about the person’s affiliation with the University (e.g., the individual is a registered MSU student or employee).  The MSUPD does not track immigration status or investigate individuals for purposes of deportation.  

    In the event of an arrest, detention, or serious injury, the MSUPD may inquire if an individual is a U.S. citizen or a non-U.S. citizen in order to make a mandated consular notification to the individual’s home country.  Some foreign consulates require state and local police to notify the consulates of the arrest of their nationals to permit foreign consular officials to assist their nationals in handling criminal charges.  The inquiry is limited to whether the individual is a U.S. citizen or a citizen of another country.  Consular notifications are required by federal law as part of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. 

  • Does the MSUPD have a cooperative agreement with ICE or other federal agency to identify or assist in the enforcement of immigration laws?

    No.  The MSUPD operates with the premise that it is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce federal immigration law, not local police departments.   

  • Does the MSUPD enforce an ICE detainer or an arrest warrant?

    ICE may issue an administrative warrant for the arrest and/or removal of a non-U.S. person if the individual is suspected of violating immigration laws, referred to as an ICE detainer.  An ICE detainer serves to advise another law enforcement agency that ICE seeks custody of an individual for further investigation or removal from the U.S.  An ICE detainer is a request from ICE and not a court order.  State and local law enforcement, including the MSUPD, are not obligated to enforce ICE detainers.   

    In contrast, an arrest warrant is a legal order issued by a judge that authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual after a determination that there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a criminal offense.  As required by law, the MSUPD will serve, or assist in the service of, valid criminal arrest warrants or other lawful order.