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Student Resources


PLEASE REVIEW THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL UPDATES SECTIOn for relevant legal & policy changes.


The goal of this section of the website is to identify existing resources at Cal Poly for undocumented students. In addition to the information listed below, Cal Poly maintains a helpful comprehensive list of resources on the enrolled student page.

For contacts within specific departments or offices, see our Ally List. When interacting with faculty, staff, and offices around campus, remember that you are never required to reveal your status.

Members of the Undocumented Student Working Group are available to meet with you privately to discuss resources. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a meeting, email undocu@calpoly.edu.

Academic Resources

We recommend getting touch with your faculty advisor because they’ll be with you throughout your time at Cal Poly. If you don’t know who your advisor is, contact your college’s Advising Center.

Student Academic Services has a comprehensive list of academic success communities and opportunities.

Here is a short list of programs and offerings around campus that we think may be particularly helpful:

  1. The Educational Opportunity Program offers assistance with admissions, finances, orientation, and academic support, as well as academic and personal advising. Applications are due on January 15th the year prior to when you’d like to be in the program. Apply here or email eop@calpoly.edu for more information.
  2. Student Academic Services maintains Campus Tutoring Resource List, updated each quarter.
  3. For first-year, transfer, and continuing engineering students, the Multicultural Engineering Program offers advising, tutoring, mentoring, workshops, scholarships, a study lounge, and other programs. To apply to be in the MEP, join their email list and send an email to mep@calpoly.edu.
  4. The Academic Advising center offers advising and resources for all students, with pages tailored to both transfers and first-years. Their main page is another good entry point for resources and programs across campus.
  5. In addition to books, the Kennedy Library rents laptops, iPads, cameras, and other equipment. Their full equipment list is here.

Clubs and Organizations

Clubs are a great place to connect with a community and work on things you’re in interested outside of the classroom. A few particular clubs that the Undocumented Student Working Group has a relationship with are:

  1. Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (RISE) is a student run organization at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo that seeks to create a more inclusive environment for undocumented students. To get in touch with RISE, email rise.calpoly.slo@gmail.com.
  2. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers is a community open to all students regardless of major. See what they do and join through their website.

Nationally, Pre-Health DREAMers provides support to undocumented students who are pursuing careers in health and science.

Financial Aid: California DREAM Act and Loan

February 14, 2017 Note: This Special Alert from the California Student Aid Commission notifies Financial Aid Administrators and High School Counselors that the parent signature option of the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is not functioning properly when using the Mozilla Firefox browser. The Following web browsers should be used for optimal compatibility: Microsoft Internet Explorer version 9.0 or higher; Google Chrome version 24.0 or higher; Apple Safari version 5.0 and higher.

AB 540 (eligibility requirements) allows certain undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at state schools in California. Students who are eligible for AB 540 are also now eligible to apply for California financial aid (grants and the DREAM Loan) as well as non-state funded scholarships through the California DREAM Act Application. Throughout the DREAM Act Application process, all information received from the student and/or family is kept confidential under California state law.

(Please note that students who are not eligible for AB 540 may still be eligible for some external scholarship support.)

In addition to information on this webpage, we strongly recommend utilizing E4FC’s student guide to the California DREAM Act.

The first step to apply for financial aid as an AB 540 student is to complete the AB 540 Affidavit and to submit it to Cal Poly’s Admissions Office.

California DREAM Act Application

After submitting the AB 540 Affidavit, you need to complete the California DREAM Act Application, through which you are automatically considered for the California DREAM Loan and state-funded financial aid, including: institutional state grants, Cal Grant, Chafee Grant, and State Educational Opportunity Program Grant.

You will receive an award notification after your application passes a verification process, at which point your financial aid award will be posted on your Portal. You may be selected for a verification process, in which case you will be required to submit additional information and respond promptly to any requests from the Financial Aid Office. Information will be posted on your Cal Poly Portal To-Do List.

The California DREAM Act Application must be renewed each year and financial aid eligibility is dependent on maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which is run at the end of Spring quarter.

California DREAM Loan

The California DREAM Loan is a subsidized loan program for undergraduate students with a valid California DREAM Act application and AB 540 Affidavit on file with Cal Poly. Eligible students are automatically offered the loan if funding is available. Those students will receive an email notification to view the new financial aid award offer on their Portal. The steps required to receive the loan, listed below, will be added to a student's To Do List on their Student Center after the loan has been accepted.

Additional Steps to Finalize the California DREAM Loan Award:

  1. Wait for an email from ECSI, the loan servicing center, with log-in information to their website.
  2. Follow the email’s instructions to log in, complete loan entrance counseling, and the DREAM Loan Promissory Note.
  3. Once completed, ECSI will notify Cal Poly and loan funds will be able to disburse.

The loan will be granted to another eligible student if it is not accepted and finalized within 30 days after it is offered.

The interest rate 2016-17 loans is 3.76%. Repayment begins 6 months after a student ceases to attend Cal Poly at least half-time (12 units per quarter), including after graduation.

The loan offered for 2016-17 is $1,200 per student.

Financial Aid: External Scholarships

There are a lot of scholarship resources and databases. The eligibility requirements and application timelines vary by program. We recommend the following starting points:

  1. The PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Scholarship is available to Latinx students enrolling in or continuing their higher education in Arizona and California. Deadline May 31st, 2017.
  2. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard maintains a list of scholarships.
  3. DREAMer’s RoadMap is a mobile application and an online database of scholarships specifically for undocumented students.
  4. E4FC (Educators for Fair Consideration) has scholarship tips and databases.
  5. MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fundmaintains a list of scholarships, updated yearly, including many that do not inquire about immigration status or require a valid social security number.
  6. My Undocumented Life posts individual upcoming scholarships.
  7. UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) has a list of scholarships available to students regardless of immigration status.

Students who attended high school in Santa Barbara County are eligible for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara's scholarship. Contact Jose Olvera (jolvera@sbscholarship.org) with any questions.

On-Campus Employment (DACA Only)

DACA students are not eligible for Federal Work Study or Federally-Funded jobs but can still search for on-campus job opportunities through MustangJobs. Once you find an on-campus job:

  1. Get a completed SERF (Student Employment Request Form) or ISA101 from your hiring supervisor
  2. Before your first day of work, bring your Social Security Card, SERF or ISA100, and employment authorization card to the State Payroll Office (Bldg. 01-107) in order to complete Federal Form I-9, Glacier, and other forms
  3. Once you start working, you’ll log your hours through a Student Assistant or ISA timesheet and pick up monthly paychecks at Student Accounts (Bldg. 01-211)

We recommend reading through the National Immigration Law Center’s “DACA and Your Workplace Rights” page.

On-Campus: Health, Wellbeing & Advocacy

1. Cal Poly Cares

The Cal Poly Cares Grant is an emergency grant that can help fund critical and unmet needs in housing, meals, personal care items, academic supplies and materials, professional clothing, and grants for unplanned expenses that require immediate relief (such as travel home for emergency situations). The Cal Poly Cares Grant program is available for all Cal Poly students.

2. Cal Poly’s Campus Health and Wellbeing Center offers health services, counseling services, health education, and general well-being support for the campus community.

  • Health Services is an on-campus resource for consultations about any health concerns or questions and provides outpatient medical services at no additional charge to all Cal Poly students. The Health Center administers flu shots and sells at-cost over-the-counter medicine and supplies, including painkillers, cough drops, and bandages.
  • Counseling Services serves the campus community through advocacy and the provision of confidential, accessible services, such as hands-on workshops; individual, couples and group therapy; crisis intervention; consultations with parents, faculty, staff; and mental health trainings.
  • PULSE (Peers Understanding Listening Supporting Educating) is composed of four teams, each dedicated to a specific area: Sexual Wellbeing (EROS), Mental Wellbeing (REAL), Nutrition (HEAT), and Alcohol & Drug Education (TLC).
3. Cross Cultural Centers
  • Gender Equity Center: The Gender Equity Center supports and empowers all women identifying students by creating a strong community, educating about feminist, womanist, and mujerista based movements, exploring identities through an intersectional lens, and striving for social justice.
  • MultiCultural Center: The MultiCultural Center supports and advocates for underrepresented students by honoring cultural expression, building community, and creating cross-cultural connections. The MCC provides a safe space for studying, cultural expression, identity exploration, finding resources, and meeting new people.
  • Pride Center: The Pride Center supports and advocates for the unique academic and social needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and pansexual (LGBTQIAP) students to promote personal growth and success.
4. Disability Resource Center

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) cultivates an accessible and inclusive community where students with permanent and temporary disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of campus life. The DRC provides information and support services to Cal Poly students with permanent and temporary disabilities.

5. Food

The Cal Poly Hunger Program ensures that all students have access to nutritious meals each day in order to stay focused on their education and success at Cal Poly. Any student is welcome to use these free, confidential, no-hassle services:

  • The Food Pantry, located in the bottom floor of the Health Center (Building 27), offers a wide variety of packaged and canned foods, frozen meals, and personal hygiene products.
  • Meal vouchers are available to any student in need of a hot meal, regardless of their background and financial situation. A list of offices that distribute meal vouchers is available.
6. Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Support

On-campus, Safer offers confidential advocacy, education, and support resources for addressing sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. You can schedule a confidential meeting with a Safer counselor here.

7. Office of Student Ombuds Services

The Office of Student Ombuds Services is a campus resource for all Cal Poly students. The Ombuds staff are committed to hearing about students’ experiences. The office offers a safe place to go for assistance in resolving any university related issue, concern, conflict, or complaint.

Study Abroad / Advanced Parole (DACA Only)

Advanced Parole allows students with DACA to re-enter the United States after traveling internationally for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. More in-depth information on Advanced Parole can be found on the USCIS I-131 website. Cal Poly Study Abroad maintains a DACA and Study Abroad page.

For a packet and checklist specifically for undocumented Cal Poly students, contact Study Abroad Advisor Erica Jorgenson (805-756-6179 or ejorgens@calpoly.edu).

Related Content


Cal Poly's UndocuWeek is Monday September 18 to Friday September 22. Designed for undocumented students and students in mixed status families.

Explore the Schedule

Cal Poly FAQs


Based on questions submitted by Cal Poly students and their supporters, these FAQs will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Cal Poly FAQs

Family Safety Guide for Immigrants

Family Safety Guide for Immigrants

Available in English & Spanish

Download Now



Donations can be made to the ASI-recognized undocumented student club called RISE: Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education

Give to student club RISE



Contact the Dream Center at dreamcenter@calpoly.edu or 805-756-6362. To set up a meeting with the Undocumented Student Working Group, email undocu@calpoly.edu or call 805-756-2418. See our Ally List to find allies and working group members in specific departments.

Email the Working Group