Undocumented Students

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"We experience strength through our diversity, and we strive to be an ever-more-inclusive community in which every person is valued. Our students, no matter their immigration status, all are invaluable to teaching and learning at RTC, the vibrancy of our community, and the health of our economy."

Kevin D. McCarthy, Ph.D.

Resources for Students

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Washington State educational opportunities and support

The Washington State COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund has funds available to support immigrants who aren't eligible for federal financial relief or unemployment insurance that provides a $1,000 one-time direct payment and up to $3,000 per household.

Apply before December 6.


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Protect Your DACA Status

Recently, the DACA program – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – has been in the news. DACA allows people who were brought to the United States as children to access education and jobs without fear of deportation.

Following a June 2020 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, students who currently have DACA status can renew and receive temporary DACA protection. The federal government will be creating a new process for new applicants.

In Washington, state law supports undocumented students with and without DACA:  Undocumented students may be eligible for resident college tuition and state financial aid, including the new Washington College Grant

Undocumented students and other non-citizens who are not eligible for federal financial aid can apply for state financial aid using the WASFA—it's not too late to apply for Winter 2020! The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) website has more information and resources for students who are immigrants, are undocumented, or have DACA status. This page includes information on residency, scholarships, and legal referrals, as well as links to COVID-19, public benefits, and cash assistance resources, some in multiple languages.

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Mental Health

RTC's Behavioral Health Services therapists provide free and confidential counseling and crisis assistance to current students experiencing personal concerns. Reach them at behavioralhealth@rtc.edu

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Regional and National Help

The Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and the King County Immigrant and Refugee Program provides information on COVID-19 Assistance and Public Charge for immigrants who want to know more about how the issue of public charge might affect their ability to access healthcare and other services during this COVID-19 outbreak.

Learn more about the Immigrant Rights from the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Collectiva Legal Del Pueblo, ACLU, and One America

Resources for Allies

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Become an Undocu-Ally

Undocumented students need to know there are knowledgeable faculty and staff members who support them. The Undocu-Allies Team works to provide resources to staff and faculty who want to become allies to undocumented students and learn how to best serve them.

Get involved:

  • Contact us at UndocuAlly@rtc.edu
  • Attend a team meeting. Faculty and staff who are allies to undocumented students are welcome to present or attend an Undocu-Ally meeting once in a quarter.
  • Sign up to participate. Stay up to date with immigration changes, the challenges facing students, and our challenges at RTC. By being a part of this team, you will get updates, resources, and invites to our meetings.

Things to know

Undocumented students can go to college. It is legal, but we recognize it is not easy. Immigration laws change frequently, and their situation could change in the future, causing uncertainty.


It is important to remember that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits schools from providing any outside agency—including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—with any information from a student's school file that would expose their immigration status. Immigration status should be treated like other student information, such as participating in Running Start or receiving Disability Resource Services accommodations. If an undocumented student discloses their immigration status to you, you must protect their privacy and confidentiality.

Financial aid

Even though undocumented students are not eligible for FAFSA, they might be eligible for in-state financial aid and several scholarships.

Most undocumented students:

  • Are courageous, resilient, and resourceful
  • Often Attend elementary, middle, or high school in the U.S.
  • Want to pursue a college education to better their lives
  • Often work to pay for school and to help their families

Undocumented students may need support with:

  • Understanding the financial aid and enrollment processes
  • Referrals to legal, government, or health providers
  • Financial struggles or changes in their current situation
  • Academic advising
  • Becoming a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen

There are plenty of resources to help you direct students. Here is a helpful guide.

Our Policies

Our proud core mission is to serve as an open-door institution where all students can achieve their educational goals, regardless of status and documentation.  RTC reaffirms our commitment to serving undocumented students. Our policies:

  • RTC does not make admissions decisions about students based on their immigration status and does not request immigration documentation except as needed to determine the eligibility for resident tuition rates.
  • RTC endeavors to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all people, regardless of immigration status.  Neither U.S. citizenship nor permanent residency (a green card) is required to attend college in the U.S. Undocumented students may enroll in classes and programs.
  • We have no legal obligation or affirmative duty to enforce federal immigration law. That is the responsibility of federal law enforcement agencies.  At the other end of that spectrum, we cannot offer "sanctuary" to anyone from the federal government.  Our job is to serve  people, not inquire about documentation status.
  • Our security officers will not ask anyone anything about immigration status, nor will we volunteer any student information. We surrender protected information only if we get a valid subpoena or court order to do so.  Otherwise, federal law protects student records.
  • It is acceptable for  any  student to decline, for privacy reasons, to respond orally or in writing to requests for a Social Security number (SSN) unless required for employment.
  • As an institution of higher learning, we protect freedom of speech and the academic freedom of faculty, staff, and students to express opinions regarding political or policy issues. We do not tolerate harassment, threats, or hate crimes as defined under our student conduct code, RTC's Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination Policy, or applicable law.