SWFL Scholarship Opportunity Now Open for Undocumented Students

March 2nd, 2015 

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The Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project is releasing the first ever scholarship fund for undocumented students in Southwest Florida (Collier and Lee Counties). We are excited to offer one qualifying community member a $500 scholarship to go toward their future or current educational prospects. This opportunity was made possible by the generous donation by the Luque Law Firm, P.A. For more information on this firm, please scroll below.

You can download the application here 

OVERVIEW

The Launchpad Fund knows that financial assistance for undocumented community members seeking educational opportunities is extremely limited. Because of this, we believe that by helping our community with financial support, dreams that were once unattainable become possible. We believe in our namesake: providing a Launchpad for individuals to reach their dreams. 

REQUIREMENTS

One $500 scholarship is available for a community member who meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Reside in Collier or Lee counties
  2. Do not have legal status in the country (i.e. Permanent residency or U.S. citizenship) or have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protective Status (TPS); ***
  3. Demonstrate financial need*
  4. Are currently a high school senior, obtained a high school diploma or GED equivalent;
  5. Are attending or seeking to attend:**
  • a community college;
  • a four-year university; or
  • a trade/vocational/technical school
  1. Have obtained a 2.5 GPA
  2. Have one letter of recommendation*
  3. Commit to working with the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project*
  4. Submit a personal statement/submission*

Applications should be sent to:

Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project

P.O. Box 62071

Fort Myers, FL 33906

postmarked by May 22nd, 2015. We are NOT accepting electronic applications. Semi-finalists will be contacted for a final interview and the finalist will be notified by late June 2015. Questions regarding the application can be emailed to launchpad@collierstoriesmatter.org

*These topics are discussed in detail in the next page **If in high school, send us a copy of an unofficial transcript. If you have graduated, send us a copy of your high school diploma or your GED certificate. Please do not send us originals. Only copies. ***Send us a copy (not an original) of your DACA/TPS approval notice.


OUR CONTRIBUTOR 

Luque law firm logoThe Luque Law Firm, P.A.

Immigration Attorney

Erica Luque, Esq. – Managing Partner

5037 Tamiami Trail East

Naples, Florida 34113

(239) 986-1196

www.luquelawfirm.com

Everything you need to know about DACA

What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?

Over the past several years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on national security, public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines. Individuals who demonstrate that they meet the guidelines below may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) for a period of three years, subject to renewal for a period of three years, and may be eligible for employment authorization. Your request for DACA will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be granted or denied at the agency’s discretion.

DACA was initially announced on June 15, 2012 via a memorandum from then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.  On November 20, 2014, current-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a memorandum expanding guidelines for DACA in several key ways. Note, however, that the expanded DACA guidelines do not become effective until February 18, 2015.

Until the new guidelines go into effect on February 18, 2015, individuals may request DACA under the existing guidelines under the June 15, 2012 Napolitano memorandum.

Guidance on the expanded DACA guidelines under the November 20, 2014 memorandum is outlined below.

Beginning on February 18, 2015, you may request consideration for deferred action under DACA if you:

  1. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010, up to the present time;
  3. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  4. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:
  • You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
  • Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012.
  1. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  2. Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Read more here

Renewing your DACA? Click here for more info! 

If your initial two-year grant of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) is expiring, you may request a renewal. This page explains how to request a renewal.

If this is the first time you are requesting DACA, go to Request DACA for the First Time . You can also find information in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Who Can Renew

You may request a renewal if you met the initial DACA guidelines and you:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

When to Renew

You should submit your renewal request about 120 days (4 months) before your current period of deferred action will expire. If you submit your request more than 150 days (5 months) before your current period expires, USCIS may reject it and return it to you with instructions to resubmit it closer to the expiration date.

How to Renew

  • Complete and sign:
    • Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
      • Use the most recent version of Form I-821D on our website or USCIS will reject your form.
    • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
    • Form I-765W Worksheet
  • Follow the instructions on all three forms to submit them to USCIS. There is a $380 filing fee for Form I-765 and an $85 biometric services (fingerprints and photo) fee, so the total cost is $465.

In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students Passes in Florida!

May 2014

It is very exciting to share that the in-state tuition bill, HB851, passed the FL House of Representatives with overwhelming support on May 2nd! It now moves to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. In the past two months, the in-state tuition bill has moved from the Senate to the House of Representatives because of continued pressure by undocumented students who mobilized to Tallahassee to see their dreams become reality!

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Below you will find press coverage as well as pictures of CCNSP’s involvement in this victory!

In the coming months, we hope to move forward with an education initiative to make sure in-state tuition as well as other resources for undocumented students make their way to those that need them.

If you have questions or want to get involved, please contact us at info@collierstoriesmatter.org

 

PRESS COVERAGE

Wink News

Wink News May 3

FOX News

NBC-2 

WGCU

Naples Daily News

Vista Semanal 

D’Latinos 

Accion Hispana

 

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High School Students Supporting Tuition Equity in Florida

As our volunteers continue their visits to high schools in Collier County, they continue to find that support for tuition equity for all students in Florida is overwhelming. Earlier this week, our state House of Representatives passed HB 851, (In-State Tuition for All Florida graduates, regardless of immigration status)  out of its last committee unanimously. While we still have to wait until it reaches the house floor, the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project and several other organizations in the state have been mobilizing and collecting signatures for the state-wide petition that was created in favor of tuition equity for undocumented students.

We need your help! Please, consider adding your name to the already hundreds of names supporting these measures. You can submit your signature electronically HERE and forward it to friends and family. Let’s show our legislators that this is something that we not only want, but also need! Once you’ve done that, show your support visually by submitting an image of yourself holding a sign similar to our high school students below! Email your image to rommy@collierstoriesmatter.org  and we will make sure to showcase you on our Facebook and blog!

Lely High School Students Showing Support

Lely High School Students Showing Support

Gulf Coast High School Students Showing Support

Gulf Coast High School Students Showing Support

Educators and Volunteers Showing Support

Educators and Volunteers Showing Support

In-state Tuition Resources (UPDATED)

Revised April 2016
For Counselors and Educators
FINAL BROCHURE (2) Brochure detailing information on In-Tutition Requirements for Undocumented Students
HB851: Requirements and who qualifies 
Read more here
About In-state tuition
College Board FInancial Aid for Undocumented Students
 NILC Basic Facts about In-state tuition
 NCSL Research on undocumented students and in-state tuition
The movement for in-state tuition in other states is growing: