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Terminology


​Undocumented Student: “Undocumented” refers to students who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States, who do not hold a visa to reside in the U.S., and who have not applied for legal residency in the U.S. In many, but not all, cases the term non-citizen refers to undocumented students. Undocumented students are eligible to apply for and be admitted to the University of Colorado Denver.  Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Unauthorized: This term has been used as a synonym for undocumented, however this term is used to highlight the fact that all peoples have documents (i.e. birth certificate, a form of identification card, and so forth), but that they are residing in the U.S. without legal authorization, thus unauthorized.

Legal Citizenship: Is obtained by individuals who are residing in the U.S. legally due to the attainment of permanent residency or citizenship through a visa or green card. These individuals obtain a social security number (SSN). 

Cultural Citizenship: Undocumented people who participate in and are acknowledged for their cultural resiliency and social reproduction that they participate in. Undocumented people take part in the class, cultural, and linguistic knowledge and skills that establish the cultural capital of social groups in the U.S.

Non-Citizen: The non-citizen category applies to students who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States and who do not hold a valid visa or who are not seeking a visa for study or documentation for residency in the U.S. 

Overstayed Visa: Refers to individuals who have stayed in the U.S. after their tourist, visitor, or student visa has expired and thus they become undocumented by overstaying their visa. 

International Student: CU Denver considers any student who currently holds a visa of any type or is seeking a visa to be international. Undocumented students are not viewed as international applicants because many do not qualify for a visa. In addition, undocumented students do not have to go through the international admission process.

Residency Status: Refers to in-state or out-of-state residency for purposes of tuition assessment.  Normally, residents of the state of Colorado are assessed in-state tuition, and all other students are assessed out-of-state tuition. 

ASSETThe Colorado ASSET law allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and receive the College Opportunity Fund stipend at Colorado public colleges.

DACAOn June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

DREAM Act: The Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a piece of  legislation proposed to provide a pathway to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship for qualified undocumented immigrant students.  The DREAM Act has been proposed several times in Congress but has not been approved.  

DREAMers: DREAMers refers to students who are undocumented and are also part of the DREAM Act movement. DREAMer is a term commonly used by students who connect with the DREAM Act movement, and sometimes used as a way to navigate away from the negative connotations given to terms such as undocumented, immigrant, non-U.S. citizen, and so forth.  

Entry without Inspection: Refers to individuals who have entered the U.S. without presenting normative government accreditation (i.e. visa).  

Mixed Status Family: Mixed Status family refers to students that either are, 1) undocumented, but have family members that are U.S. residents or U.S. citizens and/or 2) are U.S. residents or a U.S. citizen, but have family members that are undocumented. In this case it is important to know because it may affect the way a student fills out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Financial Aid: Financial Aid commonly refers to the financial assistance that is available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.  Student aid covers school expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. There are three categories of federal student aid: grants, work-study and loans.

Dropping the I-Word: "Illegals" is a racially charged slur used to dehumanize and discriminate against immigrants and people of color regardless of migratory status. The I-word is shorthand for "illegal alien," "illegal immigrant" and other harmful terms. The Applied Research Center (ARC) and Colorlines.com, have presented the Drop The I-Word campaign to eradicate the slur "illegals" from everyday use and public discourse.

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