Can Dreamers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia apply for in-state tuition?


Yes, they can. Every state has its own qualifications of how long after you are approved for DACA that you can apply for in-state and how long you must reside in that state.


U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services- Department of Homeland Security

United States Department of Justice- "Fact sheet: Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School"

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (April 29, 2014)

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia- "Domicile Determinations for Students Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" , Lee Andes, Assistant Director of Financial Aid

DC Law- UDC Dream Amendment Act of 2015- Law L21-0275

Maryland Dream Act of 2011

University of Maryland

National Association of Student Financial and Administrators


In-state tuition means if you attend a public university in the state where you live, you qualify for reduced tuition.

So, what does that mean for undocumented immigrants under DACA? Can you be 'in-state' if your country considers you an outsider?

March 5 marked Pres. Trump's DACA deadline for a deal that came and went without action from Congress.

Many people on social media lobbied leaders to let Dreamers apply for in-state tuition. So, our Verify team dug into the laws to find out whether the DMV allows DACA recipients to apply for in-state tuition.

First, we asked the Department of Education. They said it varies state-by-state.

If a state doesn't establish specific provisions, it's up to each school individually to decide, financial assistance experts at the National Association of Student Financial and Administrators (NASFAA) said.

"While some states have passed policies either granting or denying in-state tuition to undocumented students, many states have not addressed the issue," said Erin Powers, a spokesperson at NASFAA. "In states where there are no established provisions, it falls to the college leadership, on a school by school basis, to determine what policies most closely align with their practices, ethics, professional norms, etc."

Maryland passed the Maryland Dream Act of 2011, which went into effect in the Fall of 2013. The law allows for certain DACA recipients to apply for in-state tuition.

As of Septmber 20, there were 135 Dreamer and DACA students enrolled at the University of Maryland, according to spokesperson Natifia Mullings.

Any of them applying for in-state tuition must hold DACA status for at least a year.

We also looked at D.C.'s laws.

Last year, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a law allowing any individual--regardless of immigration status-- to pay in-state tuition and to receive local financial aid.

You qualify if you've attended a D.C. school "within the previous 10 years, attended high school in the District of Columbia for 3 years, graduated from a high school in the District, or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in the District," according to the UDC Dream Amendment Act of 2016.

In Virginia, you're eligible one year from the date of DACA approval and after you've lived there for a year, according to Attorney General Mark Herring.

We can verify Dreamers across the DMV are eligible to apply for in-state tuition.

About 20,000 DACA recipients live in Virginia, Maryland and D.C., according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Sixty-six percent are 25 years old or younger, according Pew Research Center.


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