By Anna Toth
A message from the President emailed to the university on Sept. 6 extended support to students affected by the suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In the email, the school promises DACA students a place in the university and continued support and urged congress to pass legislation that would allow DACA citizens to remain in the United States.
The DACA program allowed people up to age 30 — who were brought to the country as children and unable to gain citizenship — to stay in the country and do things like obtain a work visa, go to school and build a life for themselves.
On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump announced that he would be rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, dissolving the program if Congress could not come up with a viable solution within six months.
President Ronald M. Berkman, in an email to the university, encouraged congress to find a solution that would allow Cleveland State DACA students to stay in the country, with the ability to work and continue attending school.
These students have been raised and educated in the United States and have proven to be an important asset to our society. They need our support, President Berkman said in his email.
The email also listed what Cleveland State is doing to help DACA students at the university. For example, undergraduate DACA students at Cleveland State will continue to be put in the domestic financial aid pool for the remainder of their undergraduate program.
Graduate students will continue to receive their funding from the university for the length of time of which it was offered in their admission letters. If the graduate DACA students lose their federal work authorization, the university will provide them with fellowship funding in its place. For more information on this, graduate DACA students are asked to email Dean Nigamanth Sridhar.
“If a student is currently a resident based on their immigration status, and is using DACA for that purpose, we will continue to provide them with financial aid so they can complete their schooling,” Will Dube, Director of Communications and Media, said.
President Berkman also expressed his desire to develop and administer programs for undocumented students who might have qualified for DACA and have lived in the United States for a substantial amount of time.
However, this is all dependent on the decisions made in regards to DACA over the the next six months.
“We are hoping that in the next six months, Congress will make changes and pass policies that will give us more guidance on how to move forward with this,” Dube said in reference to the programs.
There’s only a small amount of students that choose to self-identify their DACA status. The university doesn’t know how many students are DACA recipients and the university doesn’t require that information.
“We don’t have a sense of what the actual number [of DACA students] would be,” Dube said. “Just the students that choose to self-identify, which is a very small number of students.”
While the exact number of DACA students is unknown, Dube explains that there’s currently 1,292 international students studying at Cleveland State.
International students are defined as foreign born individuals studying at the university under all visa types, including visas that might have been provided under the DACA program.
Until more is learned about the replacement for DACA in six months, the Center for International Services & Programs will serve as the go-to location for students affected by the suspension of DACA.