DACA and Undocumented Applicants

With the results of the US presidential election, the DACA program may come under scrutiny for possible revision or discontinuation. Cornell assures currently enrolled DACA students, whether newly enrolled in Fall ‘16 or continuing enrollment from prior years (when DACA students were considered part of the “international” financial aid pool), that they will continue to be considered in the “domestic” financial aid pool (need-based, meeting full need) for the remainder of their Cornell undergraduate program.

Cornell also assures all applicants (freshmen and transfers) with DACA status at the time of application or admission who are applying for 2017 matriculation at Cornell that, if admitted, they will be considered in the DACA/domestic aid pool for their entire undergraduate enrollment at Cornell (need-based, meeting full need). 

Below are the financial aid application requirements if you currently have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status. If you are an undocumented applicant residing in the U.S. without DACA status, you should follow the steps to apply for financial aid as an International Student.

Per IRS guidelines, we require parental tax information if your parents earnings are greater than the minimum filing threshhold.

We're happy to answer any questions you have before you formally begin the aid application process. The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment has two staff members dedicated to assisting applicants with DACA status through the financial aid application process.

Samantha Miller: sm336@cornell.edu, 607-255-0047
Jessica Potter: jlp272@cornell.edu, 607-255-4772


Spring Transfer 2017:               October 15, 2016

Early Decision 2017-18:            November 22, 2016

Regular Decision 2017-18:       February 15, 2017

Fall Transfer 2017:                     March 15, 2017

International applicants should refer to deadlines here.

Application Requirements:

Click each step below to see more information.


Step 1: Notify our office of your application

DACA students must self-identify to our office so that the aid application process is seamless.

Please email one of the liaisons listed below after you have completed the CSS PROFILE.


Step 2: Complete the 2017-18 CSS PROFILE (and Noncustodial PROFILE, if applicable)

This online form will help determine your eligibility for Cornell student aid funds.

If the whereabouts of your noncustodial parent are unknown, or if you have extenuating circumstances regarding your situation, complete the Noncustodial Parent Waiver Petition.


Step 3: Prepare and submit remaining materials

Please fax to 607-255-6329 or use our secure online upload.
Include the student's name, date of birth, and note "DACA status" on all materials.

  • Financial Aid Application Certification
  • DACA Documentation
    • Copy of the written notice I-797 that DACA status has been approved
    • Copy of your Employment Authorization Document
    • Note that should you attend Cornell, we will require that you present these original documents to our office
  • 2015 Parent and Student Federal Tax Returns
    • 2015 federal tax return(s) for custodial parent(s)
    • 2015 federal tax return for student
    • 2015 federal tax return(s) for noncustodial parent(s) if parents are divorced, separated, or were never married
      • If the noncustodial parent is re-married, the current spouse’s income information is also required
      • Noncustodial parent taxes may be submitted to Cornell (if not included with the IDOC materials)

Tax Return Requirements:

  • Must be copies of returns actually filed with the IRS (see Publication 501 for guidance on filing requirements)
  • Must include all schedules, such as A, B, C, C-EZ, E, and/or F
  • Must include business returns
  • Must include all W2 forms
  • Foreign tax filers: please provide us with translated documentation verifying your parents’ annual income for the most recently completed tax year (or the International Parent Non-Filer Statement)


Step 4: Monitor your Cornell To Do List

Applicants have a Cornell To Do List. We communicate our aid application requirements through the Cornell To Do List. Please reference this regularly to see that everything is complete. Items will disappear once they are completed in your financial aid file.



Why is our deadline important?

We want you to have all the information you need before making the choice to attend Cornell. Applying for aid by the financial aid deadline will ensure that your financial aid award is available when you receive your admissions decision. If you do not apply by our stated deadline, your award may be delayed.


Federal Withholding Tax

Students with DACA status are to be treated, for tax purposes, as any other foreign national student. The Internal Revenue Service classifies grant aid in excess of tuition and mandatory fees as taxable income and requires Cornell to withhold 14% in taxes if you are a non-resident alien and not eligible for exemption from taxes under a tax treaty. If you are deemed to be a "resident alien" based on the amount of time you have been present within the U.S., or if you are from a treaty country that includes a treaty article that would grant an exemption from tax withholding, Cornell would not be required to withhold 14% of excess aid.

In order to evaluate either option for non-withholding, the student will need to complete a Foreign National Questionnaire. Access to the on-line Questionnaire can be gained by emailing cu_fnis@cornell.edu requesting a user name and password.


Do you have further questions?

Try our Ask Ezra knowledge database. Ezra knows a lot about financial aid and student employment!

My Documented Life provides resources about scholarships for undocumented residents.