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Federal Guide Outlines Supports for Undocumented H.S. and College Students

The U.S. Department of Education has released the first in a set of resource guides designed to help school officials support undocumented immigrant students.

The 63-page guide aims to clarify the legal rights of undocumented high school and college students, share resources about federal and private financial aid available to them, and discuss how to support youth applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) consideration or renewal. The DACA program allows students who came to the United States as children to apply for relief from deportation.

An Education Department release indicates that "nearly 1.5 million undocumented youth in the United States are eligible for DACA, and another 400,000 will become eligible in coming years." The Department plans to release a resource guide for preschool and elementary school settings in the coming month.

"Our nation's public schools should be welcoming, safe, and supportive places where all students ... are given the opportunity to succeed. We know undocumented youth face unique challenges and we also know that educators and other caring adults in schools and colleges can play a major role in helping all students, including undocumented students, to achieve at the highest levels," Deputy Education Secretary John King said in a prepared statement. He will serve as Acting Education Secretary when the current secretary, Arne Duncan, steps down in December.

King unveiled the guide during a discussion with undocumented students at San Francisco State University, which the Education Department calls a "leader in supporting the success of undocumented youth."

The guide also includes: advice for educators on how to support undocumented youth; a list of private scholarships for which undocumented students might be eligible; and tips for migrant students working to access their education records for DACA consideration.

The federal Justice and Education Departments sent guidance to school districts across the nation in spring 2014, reminding public schools that they are required to provide all children with equal access to education at the elementary and secondary levels, regardless of their own immigration or citizenships status, or that of their parents or guardians.

In a letter to members of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Duncan wrote that the guide released Tuesday should help school leaders better support children "regardless of actual or perceived immigration status."

  Supporting Undocumented Youth

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