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 LMU. 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).

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: LMU 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 California are assessed in-state tuition, and all other students are assessed out-of-state tuition. For LMU and other private institutions, however, tuition is the same for residents and non-U.S. citizens/non-residents. 

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.  Please see National DREAM Act section for more information.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):  A policy calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children. Applications under the program began on August 15, 2012.  Deferred action is a discretionary, limited immigration benefit by DHS. It can be granted to individuals who are in removal proceedings, who have final orders of removal, or who have never been in removal proceedings. Individuals who have deferred action status can apply for employment authorization and are in the U.S. under color of law. However, there is no direct path from deferred action to lawful permanent residence or to citizenship.  And, it can be revoked at any time. 

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. 

AB 540: California law that allows some nonresident and undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and fees. To be eligible for AB 540, students must:

Have attended a California high school for at least three years; Have graduated (or will graduate) from a high school in California or received a GED or passed California High School Proficiency Exam; Have signed the California Nonresident Exemption Request, which states that the student meets all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and, if s/he is undocumented, is in the process of adjusting their immigration status, or will do so as soon as they are eligible; Not possess a non-immigrant visa.

SB 1159: requires all 40 licensing boards under the California Department of Consumer Affairs to consider applicants regardless of immigration status by 2016.

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). 

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.

Definitions developed with assistance from Loyola University Chicago.