President’s Message:  Trinity Solidarity and Support for Undocumented Students

Since the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur founded Trinity in 1897 as one of the nation’s first Catholic colleges for women, this great university has always proclaimed the Gospel message of social justice with its foundational commitment to upholding human life and dignity, expressing solidarity for our brothers and sisters, and particularly walking with the poor and vulnerable of this earth.  Consequently, Trinity has long supported immigrants and refugees from oppressive regimes and impoverished circumstances.  More recently, in 2014, Trinity was invited to be among the first private colleges to participate in a special program funding higher education for DACA recipients, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers.”  DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) is an executive order issued by President Obama in 2012 granting some minimal legal status to undocumented young people who meet certain conditions.  In 2014, TheDream.US started offering scholarships for DACA recipients and the first class of Dreamer Scholars enrolled at Trinity that fall.  Sadly, in 2017, the Trump Administration rescinded the DACA policy, but various court orders have enjoined implementation of that recission pending a ruling from the Supreme Court that is expected sometime in early 2020.  In the interim, current DACA holders may renew their permits but no new DACA permits are being issued.  Trinity joined 165 other colleges and universities in signing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to preserve DACA and to strike down the Trump Administration’s recission.

Trinity stands in solidarity with our Dreamers and we welcome undocumented students to apply and enroll at Trinity.  As we do for all students, Trinity offers a range of services for undocumented students on campus, listed below, and we also work in partnership with outside organizations who support undocumented persons.  Most important, Trinity wishes to make clear that these fundamental commitments:

  • Trinity welcomes applications for enrollment from all qualified students regardless of immigration status, and Trinity will never inquire into immigration status as a condition for admission or participation in any campus activities or services;
  • Recognizing that undocumented students are ineligible for federal financial aid, Trinity will work with undocumented students to identify other sources of financial assistance; additionally, undocumented students who are full-time undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences are eligible for Trinity grants in the same way that other CAS students are eligible;
  • Trinity respects the privacy of undocumented persons and, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) will not disclose information about any student except as required by law upon presentation of a valid warrant or subpoena or other court order;
  • Trinity will not take any official action or campus law enforcement action solely on the basis of immigration status;
  • Undocumented students have the same rights to freedom of speech and assembly as all other students on campus, and no student will incur any penalty for participation in advocacy or other public speech activities;
  • Trinity will not cooperate with joint immigration enforcement actions by external governmental agencies unless required by law;
  • To the greatest extent possible, Trinity will advise undocumented students of changes in laws and policies that may affect them, and will seek external sources of legal assistance for those who need legal aid.

Trinity and I will continue to advocate for justice for undocumented persons and for all those who suffer injustice.  Below are some specific ways in which Trinity implements these commitments, and I welcome your comments on other forms of support that Trinity might offer.


President Patricia McGuire

October 2019: Supreme Solidarity

December 2018: Dreamers Deserve Justice Now

October 2017: Solidarity with Dreamers

August 2017:  Trinity Stands with Dreamers

December 2016: Solidarity with Dreamers


Attending and Applying to Trinity as an Undocumented Individual

Dreamers Welcome!

Trinity proudly welcomes Dreamers and encourages eligible students to apply to TheDream.US Scholarship program. The next round of scholarship applications opens on November 1. TheDream.US provides college scholarships to highly motivated Dreamers who seek a college education but cannot afford it; applicants must be DACA or TPS eligible and have applied for or received DACA or TPS approval. TheDream.US requires scholarship recipients to attend one of its partner institutions, and Trinity is the only partner university in Washington, D.C. Trinity is one of the first institutions to partner with TheDream.US when the program was launched in early 2014, and Trinity currently enrolls more than 100 Dreamer Scholars.

Start your TheDream.US application here and be sure to designate Trinity Washington University. TheDream.US offers two scholarships: The National Scholarship is for high school or community college graduates; the Opportunity Scholarship is for students who live in targeted, locked-out states where they cannot get in-state tuition. Your eligibility for both is based upon where you live. Review TheDream.US eligibility requirements and deadlines on TheDream.US site.

Making Dreams Come True

Trinity is honored to partner with TheDream.US, an important national movement that provides college scholarships to enable highly motivated, low-income Dreamers to earn college degrees. These scholarships make up the difference in the lost Pell grants and federal loans that Dreamers are not currently eligible to receive.

Five simple steps to apply to Trinity as a potential Dreamer Scholar:

  • Apply to Trinity if you have not already done so.
  • Apply for TheDream.US Scholarship.
  • You can use your TheDream.US application essay for your Trinity application.
  • Notify both Trinity Admissions and TheDream.US that you are applying to each.*
  • Notify Trinity Admissions if you are awarded TheDream.US Scholarship.*

* Notify Trinity Admissions Office by e-mail, or call, 202-884-9400

Trinity Campus Resources

Health Services:  Undocumented Students Support Group

Outside Resources

Legal Resources

Legal Aid Clinics

Ayuda Legal Services: Immigration Law Consultations
DC Office: 6925 B Willow Street NW
Washington, DC 20012

Virginia Office: 2755 Hartland Road, Suite 100
Falls Church, VA 22043
Hours: Consultations are held every Thursday morning and require an appointment.

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Washington
Catholic Charities Legal Network
924 G St., NW
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-350-4305 | 202-772-4325 (En Español)
Immigration Legal Services also available at four walk-in intake locations available throughout the region
Phone: 202-772-4352
*You do not need to be Catholic to use these services

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington
Hogar Immigrant Services
6301 Little River Turnpike
Suite 300, Alexandria, VA  22312
Phone: 703-534-9805
General office hours: Monday–Thursday, 9am- 5pm
*You do not need to be Catholic to use these services

Columbus Community Legal Services Catholic University
3602 John McCormack Rd. NE
Washington, D.C. 20064
Phone: 202-319-6788
Paul Kurth; Managing Director Email:
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
Main Office:  1331 H Street, NW Suite 350
Washington, DC 20005
Phone:  202.628.1161
Initial Interview Hours: Mondays 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Thursdays 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

THE “BIG CHAIR” – SE: The Anacostia Professional Building
2041 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., SE Suite 201
Washington, D.C. 20020
Initial Interview Hours: Mondays 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Thursdays 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Immigration Advocates Network
The National Immigration Legal Services Directory is a place to search for immigration legal services providers by state, county, or detention facility. Only nonprofit organizations that provide free or low-cost immigration legal services are included in this directory. If you have questions, please see our list of frequently asked questions or email us at

Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP)
680 Rhode Island Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: Call 202-832-NLSP (6577) or come to one of our three neighborhood offices for assistance.
Intake Hours for New Cases: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10:00 am- 3:00 pm