Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services: Statement regarding undocumented student issues and new federal policy

August 15, 2012

To:     The campus community
From: Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services
Re:     Undocumented student issues and new federal policy

On Friday, June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security will implement a policy that will allow youth who meet certain qualifications to be considered for relief from deportation or from entering into removal proceedings. This deferral of action will be for a two-year period and will be renewable. Those youth who qualify will be considered eligible for permission to work, which also has important implications for their ability to study and earn advanced degrees in the U.S. 

In light of this policy, we thought it was worth reminding the University community of the University’s stance toward undocumented students. As articulated in 2010:

The University of Chicago has, from its inception, been a place where the best and brightest minds from around the world can gather to shape ideas, produce new knowledge, and contribute to the betterment of human life. Our community has been deliberately inclusive, because it is from the widest possible range of perspectives and viewpoints that the most innovative ideas can be proposed, tested, and debated. We are committed to assembling a community of talented individuals regardless of their backgrounds, financial circumstances, or national origins. This commitment is further discussed in President Zimmer’s statement on diversity, posted at 

In this context, the University of Chicago considers for admission students from around the world. All students who apply, regardless of citizenship, are considered for admission to the University and for every type of private financial aid that the University offers. In accordance with the law, the University admits and enrolls undocumented students and uses private funds to provide financial aid to support their studies. 

The new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy significantly expands educational and degree opportunities for undocumented students. Those who obtain employment authorization under the deferred action policy will be able to hold jobs to help finance their education. They will also be able to graduate from programs with requirements that involve employment, such as serving as a teaching assistant as part of the training in doctoral programs. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has implemented a process that will allow individuals to apply for this benefit. More information on that process, including the forms to apply for deferred action, is available through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. 

We recommend that undocumented students also visit the website of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights,, a useful resource for undocumented students in Illinois. Additional information can be found on the National Immigration Law Center site,, including the Prosecutorial Discretion: Self Help Guide, 

University of Chicago students, prospective students, or school counselors working with prospective students are encouraged to reach out to Tamara Felden, the designated contact for undocumented student issues at the University, at or (773) 702-7752.

Additional details and resources 

Department of Homeland Security press release

Additional information 

UChicagoSocial: Campus and Student Life