Dream Center


Student Resources

The following resources already exist at Cal Poly for undocumented students. In addition to the information listed below, Cal Poly maintains a helpful comprehensive list of resources on the enrolled student page.

For contacts within specific departments or offices, see our Campus Networks tab. When interacting with faculty, staff, and offices around campus, remember that you are never required to reveal your status.

Academic Resources

We recommend getting in touch with your faculty advisor because they’ll be with you throughout your time at Cal Poly. If you don’t know who your advisor is, contact your college’s Advising Center.

Student Academic Services has a comprehensive list of academic success communities and opportunities for students.

Here is a short list of programs and offerings around campus that we think may be particularly helpful:

  1. The Educational Opportunity Program offers assistance with admissions, finances, orientation, academic support, and personal advising. Applications are due on January 15th the year prior to when you’d like to be in the program. Apply here or email eop@calpoly.edu for more information.
  2. Student Academic Services maintains a Campus Tutoring Resource List, which is updated each quarter.
  3. For first-year, transfer, and continuing engineering students, the Multicultural Engineering Program offers advising, tutoring, mentoring, workshops, scholarships, a study lounge, and other programs. To apply to be in the MEP, join their email list and send an email to mep@calpoly.edu.
  4. The Academic Advising Center offers advising and resources for all students, with pages tailored to both transfer and first-year students. Their main page is another good entry point for resources and programs across campus.
  5. In addition to books, the Kennedy Library rents laptops, iPads, cameras, and other equipment. The full equipment list is here.

Clubs and Organizations

Clubs are a great place to connect with a community and work on things you’re interested in outside of the classroom. A few particular clubs that the Undocumented Student Working Group has a relationship with are:

  1. Advancement of Undocumented Students (AUS) is a student-run organization at Cal Poly that seeks to create a more inclusive environment for undocumented students. To get in touch with AUS, email auscalpolyslo@gmail.com.
  2. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers is a community open to all students regardless of major. See what they do and join through their website.

Nationally, Pre-Health DREAMers provides support to undocumented students who are pursuing careers in the health and science fields.

Financial Aid: California DREAM Act and Loan

February 14, 2017 Note: This Special Alert from the California Student Aid Commission notifies Financial Aid Administrators and High School Counselors that the parent signature option of the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is not functioning properly when using the Mozilla Firefox browser. The following web browsers should be used for optimal compatibility: Microsoft Internet Explorer version 9.0 or higher; Google Chrome version 24.0 or higher; Apple Safari version 5.0 and higher.


AB 540 (eligibility requirements) allows certain undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at state schools in California. Students who are eligible for AB 540 are also now eligible to apply for California financial aid (grants and the DREAM Loan), as well as non-state funded scholarships through the California DREAM Act Application. Throughout the DREAM Act Application process, all information received from the student and/or family is kept confidential under California state law.

(Please note that students who are not eligible for AB 540 may still be eligible for some external scholarship support.)

In addition to information on this webpage, we strongly recommend using Immigrants Rising student guide to the California DREAM Act.

The first step in applying for financial aid as an AB 540 student, is to complete the AB 540 Affidavit and submit it to Cal Poly’s Admissions Office.

California DREAM Act Application

After submitting the AB 540 Affidavit, you need to complete the California DREAM Act Application. This means you are automatically considered for the California DREAM Loan and state-funded financial aid, including: institutional state grants, Cal Grant, Chafee Grant, and the State Educational Opportunity Program Grant.

You will receive an award notification after your application passes a verification process, and your financial aid award will be posted to your Portal. You may be selected for a verification process, in which case you will be required to submit additional information and respond promptly to any requests from the Financial Aid Office. Information will be posted on your Cal Poly Portal To-Do List.

The California DREAM Act Application must be renewed each year and financial aid eligibility is dependent on maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which is determined at the end of each spring quarter.

California DREAM Loan

The California DREAM Loan is a subsidized loan program for undergraduate students who have a valid California DREAM Act application and AB 540 Affidavit on file with Cal Poly. Eligible students are automatically offered the loan if funding is available. These students will receive an email notification with the new financial aid award offer on their Portal. The steps required to receive the loan, listed below, will be added to a student's To Do List on their Student Center after the loan has been accepted.

Additional Steps to Finalize the California DREAM Loan Award:

  1. Wait for an email from ECSI, the loan servicing center, with log-in information to their website.
  2. Follow the email’s instructions to log in, complete loan entrance counseling, and the DREAM Loan Promissory Note.
  3. Once completed, ECSI will notify Cal Poly and loan funds will be disbursed.

The loan will be granted to another eligible student if it is not accepted and finalized within 30 days after it is offered.

The interest rate for 2016-17 loans is 3.76%. Repayment begins 6 months after a student ceases to attend Cal Poly at least half-time (12 units per quarter), including after graduation.

The loan amount offered for the 2016-17 school year is $1,200 per student.

Financial Aid: External Scholarships

There are a lot of scholarship resources and databases. The eligibility requirements and application timelines vary by program. We recommend the following starting points:

  1. The PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Scholarship is available to Latinx students enrolling in or continuing their higher education in Arizona and California. Deadline is May 31, 2017.
  2. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard maintains a list of scholarships.
  3. DREAMer’s RoadMap is a mobile application and an online database of scholarships specifically for undocumented students.
  4. Immigrants Rising (Formerly Educators for Fair Consideration) has scholarship tips and databases.
  5. MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) maintains a list of scholarships, updated yearly, including many that do not inquire about immigration status or require a valid social security number.
  6. My Undocumented Life posts individual upcoming scholarships.
  7. UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) has a list of scholarships available to students regardless of immigration status.

Students who attended high school in Santa Barbara County are eligible for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara's scholarship. Contact Jose Olvera (jolvera@sbscholarship.org) with any questions.

On-Campus Employment (DACA Only)

DACA students are not eligible for Federal Work Study or Federally-Funded jobs can still search for on-campus job opportunities through Mustang Jobs. Once you find an on-campus job:

  1. Get a completed SERF (Student Employment Request Form) or ISA101 from your hiring supervisor
  2. Before your first day of work, bring your Social Security Card, SERF or ISA100, and employment authorization card to the State Payroll Office (Bldg. 01-107) in order to complete Federal Form I-9, Glacier, and other forms
  3. Once you start working, you’ll log your hours through a Student Assistant or ISA timesheet and pick up monthly paychecks at Student Accounts (Bldg. 01-211)

We recommend reading through the National Immigration Law Center’s “DACA and Your Workplace Rights” page.

On-Campus: Health, Wellbeing & Advocacy

1. Cal Poly Cares

The Cal Poly Cares Grant is an emergency grant that can help fund critical unmet needs in housing, food, personal care, academic materials, and professional clothing. These grants are targeted for unplanned expenses that require immediate relief (such as travel home for emergency situations.) The Cal Poly Cares Grant program is available to all Cal Poly students.

2. Cal Poly’s Campus Health and Wellbeing Center offers health services, counseling, health education, and general well-being support for the campus community.

  • Health Services is an on-campus resource for consultations about any health concerns or question and they provide outpatient medical services at no additional charge to all Cal Poly students. The Health Center administers flu shots and sells at-cost over-the-counter medicine and supplies, including painkillers, cough drops, and bandages.
  • Counseling Services serves the campus community through advocacy and the provision of confidential, accessible services. These include hands-on workshops; individual, couples and group therapy; crisis intervention; consultations with parents, faculty, staff; and mental health trainings.
  • PULSE (Peers Understanding Listening Supporting Educating) is composed of four teams, each dedicated to a specific area: Sexual Wellbeing (EROS), Mental Wellbeing (REAL), Nutrition (HEAT), and Alcohol & Drug Education (TLC).
3. Cross Cultural Centers
  • Gender Equity Center: The Gender Equity Center supports and empowers all women identifying students by creating a strong community, educating about feminist, womanist, and mujerista based movements, exploring identities through an intersectional lens, and striving for social justice.
  • MultiCultural Center: The MultiCultural Center supports and advocates for underrepresented students by honoring cultural expression, building community, and creating cross-cultural connections. The MCC provides a safe space for studying, cultural expression, identity exploration, identification of resources, and meeting new people.
  • Pride Center: The Pride Center supports and advocates for the unique academic and social needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and pansexual (LGBTQIAP) students to promote personal growth and success.
  • Black Academic Excellence Center: The Black Academic Excellence Center (BAEC) program is committed to supporting the advancement and excellence of Black students and Black student groups within the Cal Poly community. By fostering an inclusive environment, providing academic support, and promoting a positive self-image, our goal is to empower Black students to take full advantage of all the opportunities presented while actively engaging with Black history and culture.
  • Men & Masculinity Program: The Men and Masculinity Program engages male-identified students regarding gender-based violence, with the purpose of (1) establishing positive masculine gender norms on campus and (2) responding to men involved in incidences of gender-based violence with restorative support. We do this through education, advocacy, and mentorship. 
4. Disability Resource Center

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) cultivates an accessible and inclusive community where students with permanent and temporary disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of campus life. The DRC provides information and support services to Cal Poly students with permanent and temporary disabilities.

5. Food

The Cal Poly Hunger Program ensures that all students have access to nutritious meals each day in order to stay focused on their education at Cal Poly. Any student is welcome to use these free, confidential, no-hassle services:

6. Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Support

On-campus, Safer offers confidential advocacy, education, and support resources for addressing sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. You can schedule a confidential meeting with a Safer counselor here.

7. Office of Student Ombuds Services

The Office of Student Ombuds Services is a campus resource for all Cal Poly students. The Ombuds staff are committed to hearing about students’ experiences. The office offers a safe place to go for assistance in resolving any university related issue, concern, conflict, or complaint.


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