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Undocumented Student Support & Resources

At Western Illinois University, we believe all students have the right to an education.  In alignment with our University vision, we strive to be a leader in educational opportunity. We are dedicated to supporting students' journeys to reach their goals while also recognizing that being undocumented can present its own unique challenges. Western offers a supportive environment for undocumented individuals and welcomes all students regardless of citizenship status. Below, we have compiled resources that we hope will be beneficial to you as you navigate higher education.

Campus Resources & Information

  • Student Resource: Kelly Severs
  • Kelly serves as our student resource for all undocumented students and is here to help with any questions you may have.  No question is too small and she will work hard to get you pointed in the right direction.  All conversations will remain confidencial.  Please use the information below to contact Kelly.                                           Kelly Severs; Assistant Director of Retention Initiatives
              Kj-Severs@wiu.edu ; (309)-298-2296; use: https://calendly.com/kj-severs to schedule a meeting. 
  • Admissions
  • Students who apply to WIU, with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, are treated identically to any U.S. citizen or permanent resident for admission. Apply for admission at wiu.edu/apply. A social security number is not required for admission or to complete the application; use zeros where a social security number is requested.
  • Admissions Counselor
  • If you are you interested in meeting with a WIU Admissions Counselor in your area who can provide more information about Western and guide you through the application process please click HERE.
  • University Counseling Center
  • The Western Illinois University Counseling Center is committed to providing comprehensive mental health services that promote the overall wellness and personal growth of our students. We offer a wide range of services to the Western Illinois University community to address students’ psychological, developmental, interpersonal, and academic concerns. The Center is staffed by licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, and counselors who provide ethical, inclusive, culturally sensitive, and progressive therapeutic treatment options to students working on self-identified goals. We believe in affirming the dignity, worth, and value of all students in our diverse population, and strive to create an environment of openness, safety, and respect. The Center contributes to the academic mission by supporting the mental health needs of our students so that they may strive for academic excellence, personal growth, and social responsibility. The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides free, personal counseling services to currently enrolled Western Illinois University undergraduate and graduate students. We are now also offering Tele-Mental Health Counseling. Please call the office at (309) 298-2453 if you are interested in scheduling an appointment.
  • Student Legal Advocate: Torrey Smith
  • If you would like assistance in navigating the legal system, please contact WIU’s Student Legal Advocate, attorney Victoria Smith. Appointments are confidential and the services are free to WIU students. VR-Smith@wiu.edu ; (309) 298-1319. Click here to meet Torrey in an episode of "Ask A Leatherneck."
  • Multicultural Center
  • The Multicultural Center (MCC) is home to the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, the Casa Latina Cultural Center, the LGBT*QA Resource Center, and the Women's Center, each working together to enhance their goals of educational, social, and cultural programs and resources that will help to focus the campus community's awareness and appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion by recognizing and inviting all backgrounds to build community together.
    • Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center
    • Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center is committed to helping the campus community adjust to a multicultural and multiracial society regardless of race, age, or economic status. There are a variety of options for student groups under GBCC: African Student Association, Black Man Achievement Network, Black Student Association, Black Student Summit, Cultural Expressions, Christian Faith Campus Ministries, GBCC Dance Troupe, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Join us for a Kwanzaa Dinner and a variety of Black History Month events to promote the cultural experiences of the African Diaspora.
    • Casa Latina Cultural Center
    • Casa Latina is a home away from home for students of all backgrounds, with programs and student organizations highlighting the Latin American and Indigenous cultures. Get involved with Amplify, Latin American Literary Society, Latin American Student Organization, Mariachi de Oro, and Tradicion. Take part in Latinx Heritage Month, Día De Los Muertos, BYOT (Bring your own tortilla) and Calle Murray.
    • LGBT*QA Resource Center
    • The LGBT*QA Resource Center is a space for students to become visible and form connections with the Queer community at WIU and in Macomb. Everyone is welcome to join our student organization Unity and our Queer book club. A gender affirming closet is also available free of charge. The Big Picture Picnic, Camp OUT, Trans* Day of Remembrance, Drag Shows, and Pride Week are a few of the great events you can be part of each year.
    • Women's Center
    • The Women’s Center is a space to celebrate women, welcoming students of all genders. Our goal is to empower and provide support for students. Beyond Beautiful, Campus Girl Scouts, Diamond Dolls Dance Troupe, Feminist Action Alliance, and The Good Girl Movement are all student organizations to consider joining. Come be part of legacy events like Love Your Body Day, Take Back the Night, The Vagina Monologues, and Women’s History Month programs.

Financial Aid Resources & Information

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • The FAFSA application is open to all students who are U.S. citizens, regardless of parental citizenship status. If your parents are not U.S. citizens utilize all zeros for their social security number on the application. Western encourages all students who are U.S. citizens to complete FAFSA in order to obtain as much financial aid as possible. Students who are undocumented or have DACA status, but no social security number, do not qualify for FAFSA at this time and therefore need not apply. Please see our other resources for financial assistance. To complete the FAFSA form click HERE .
  • WIU DREAMers Scholarship application
  • To help DREAMers (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) in the United States achieve educational success, WIU Political Science Professor Julia Albarracin-Green created the Western Illinois University DREAMers scholarship in 2017. The DREAMers Scholarship provides annual scholarships to undocumented students who attend WIU.

    The WIU DREAMers Scholarship, which will award a minimum of $5,000 for the academic year for at least two students, is available for undocumented, DACA, and Temporary Protected Status Students, with a 2.75 high school/college GPA. Currently, students can apply for the WIU DREAMers Scholarship by emailing    j-albarracin@wiu.edu and expressing interest and need; please attach a current resume, transcript (high school if incoming student or college if it is a current student), and a 500-word essay on how the scholarship would enhance your educational goals.
  • RISE Alternative Aid Application
  • The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act allows eligible undocumented students to apply for state financial aid. The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid provides a way for qualified students to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, the state's largest need-based grant program for low-income college students.

    Undocumented students may be eligible to apply if they meet all of these criteria, which are based on Illinois statute regarding in-state tuition eligibility:
    • the individual resided with his or her parent or guardian while attending an Illinois public or private high school;
    • the individual graduated from a public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Illinois;
    • the individual attended school in Illinois for at least 3 years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma;
    • the individual provides an affidavit stating that the individual will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity the individual is eligible to do so; and
    • the individual has not established a residence outside of Illinois
    To access and learn more about the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid and apply click HERE . If you have questions about the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid please contact our Financial Aid department and request to speak to a staff member who has expertise in working with undocumented students.
  • Institutional Aid
  • All WIU students qualify for institutional aid; this includes admissions scholarships, university-wide foundation scholarships, and department scholarships, regardless of citizenship status (unless specifically noted on the scholarship).
    • The annual application deadline for New Freshmen Foundation Scholarships is March 1st.
    • The annual application deadline for New Transfer Students Foundation Scholarships is May 1st.
    • The annual application deadline for Current or Returning Students Foundation Scholarships is March 1st.
    Please click HERE to visit the Foundation scholarship page , click "Visit Scholarship Portal" in the upper right-hand side of the page, create an account, and complete your scholarship application. This single application will be submitted into the portal and you will be matched with scholarships that you qualify for. You will need to reapply annually before the deadline, so mark your calendars! You will be notified if you are awarded any of the scholarships you matched with.

    When you have decided on your major, be sure to check your department for additional departmental scholarships. Many departments have scholarships that are not on the portal with varying deadlines and application requirements. As a rule of thumb, start checking with your department by mid-February for these additional scholarship opportunities to be applied the following fall semester.
  • Private Scholarships
  • Private scholarships are financial aid awards funded by companies, service groups, foundations, organizations, and individuals and can greatly range in value. Private scholarships are often advertised in high schools, churches and local organizations. Each private scholarship may have a different application process, so be sure to read all application rules carefully. Once a scholarship is awarded you can contact our Financial Aid department to have monies sent directly to Western and applied to your account.
  • Additional Scholarship Opportunities
  • Click HERE for additional scholarship opportunities that may be beneficial to you!

Academic Resources

  • Rocky's Resources
  • Western Illinois University offers support and academic skill development in many ways. We're committed to assisting students in finding success in virtual and on-campus academic environments. Please click HERE to see the variety of academic assistance open to all Leathernecks!
  • Tutoring
  • Tutoring is FREE and conveniently offered in person at the Malpass Library with some online/virtual options. Make an appointment for a guaranteed tutor or show up in person at the library to meet a tutor in person. To read more about tutoring and make appointments, click HERE .
  • University Writing Center
  • Want to improve your writing skills or have your paper proof-read before submitting? Check out the University Writing Center where our undergraduate and graduate writing consultants are resource experts ready to help you with any writing project. One-on-one appointments in a variety of formats in Macomb, the Quad Cities, and online are offered to all current students. Click HERE learn more about the University Writing Center.
  • First-Year Advising Center
  • The First-Year Advising Center is located on the Lower Level of Memorial Hall and is where you will find all of the Academic Advisors for first year students. Whether you are looking to add courses, explore majors, or simply get some advice, your academic advisor is a great place to start. To schedule an appointment with your advisor click HERE.
  • Reach Program
  • The Reach Program is an alternative admission program designed for students who fall just outside the "regular admission" standards. WIU's Reach Program connects students with additional support to help them stay on track toward college graduation. Students who believe they may be eligivle for the Reach Program are encouraged to apply to WIU on the Undergraduate Admissions page. If the admissions staff believes your best route to success will be through the Reach Program, you will be contacted and asked for additional information; examples include Academic GPA in core classes, ACT/SAT scores, Letters of Recommendation, and Student Goal Statements. Do you think the Reach Program is your path to success? If so, check out this LINK to learn more about the Reach program.

Community Resources

Partners & Allies Getting Involved

  • Student, faculty, and staff undocumented ally training
  • Prior to 2020, an ally training was created by a team of University faculty and staff.  This training provided professional development and ally training for many people across campus.  Western Illinois University is currently developing an updated ally training that will be available by request for all student groups, classes, organizations, and offices on campus. Please check back with us soon to request a presentation for your group.
  • Donate to the DREAMers Scholarship
  • The DREAMers Scholarship donation page is currently under construction. To donate to this cause, or speak to someone about donating, please contact Amy Crosby or mail a check to the WIU Foundation with the memo line stating "DREAMer Fund."

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Can I apply to WIU if I am undocumented/not a U.S. citizen?
  • Yes! Click HERE for the undergraduate application . Fill the application out to the best of your ability. If a social security number is unknown or unavailable, use zeros.
  • What financial aid can I receive if I don't qualify for FAFSA or Federal Aid?
  • WIU works hard to provide as many financial resources as possible to our undocumented student population.  Please see our section on this page titled "Financial Aid Resources & Information" for more specifics on financial resources available.
  • Will the information I share on my admissions application be shared with Immigration Services?
  • No. All information given to Western Illinois University will remain confidential in our admissions department; under FERPA your privacy is protected.
  • Can I apply for Federal Financial Aid?
  • Undocumented students are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). However, students who are U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents that have mixed status family members are eligible to complete the FAFSA application.  If your parents are not U.S. citizens, utilize all zeros for their social security numbers on the application.  If you need additional assistance with this, please contact our Financial Aid department and request to speak to a staff member who has expertise in working with undocumented students.
  • If I have DACA status, am I eligible for FAFSA?
  • Undocumented students with DACA status and a social security number are eligible to complete the FAFSA application.  Students with DACA status but no social security number are not eligible to receive Federal Aid and should not complete the FAFSA application. However, we recommend you review and apply for the Rise Alternative Aid Application and any institutional scholarships you may qualify for.
  • What type of identification do I need to get my WIU Student ID card?
  • In order to get your WIU Student ID, you will need to bring a picture ID with you to verify your identification (e.g., drivers license, state ID, previous college or high school photo ID).
  • If I don't have the immunization records that the WIU Beu Health Center requires, what can I do?
  • There are a couple of options for you:
    • First, contact your high school and request a copy of your immunization records; they should have them on file. Then submit them to the Beu Health Center.
    • Second, all students are automatically enrolled in the WIU health insurance when they are admitted to Western; our health insurance covers all the necessary immunizations if you receive them on campus. Make an appointment with the Beu Health Center to receive your immunization shots as soon as you arrive to campus to avoid fines and holds placed on your account after the 10th day.

Contact Us

Office of Retention Initiatives 
Western Illinois University
Sherman Hall 118

Do you still have questions about the resources for undocumented students at WIU or do you need further information about something specific to you? Email our Student Resource, Kelly Severs or Justin Schuch , Executive Director of Retention Initiatives. Conversations and information will remain confidential.