Desmond McArdle Center

Financial Resources

DREAMers (Undocumented Students)

    Regular Hours

    Mon-Thu 8am-5pm
    Fri 8am-4pm
    Sat-Sun Closed


Bellingham Technical College (BTC) is committed to assisting all students succeed, regardless of citizen status. New state law and funding has increased opportunities for non-citizens to access higher education. At BTC, these students are called DREAMers.


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Financial Aid

Washington State Need Grant, scholarships, and other resources

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Eligibility for resident student status

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

    Regular Hours

    Mon-Thu 8am-5pm
    Fri 8am-4pm
    Sat-Sun Closed

Financial Aid

The Real Hope Act provides funding through the Washington State Need grant for low-income, non-citizen students. DREAMers can also apply for assistance through the Opportunity Grant and outside scholarships opportunities.

How do I apply?

In order to be eligible for the State Need Grant, you must complete the online WASFA application. Additional documentation may be needed.

The Opportunity Grant application is available on the BTC website. Eligibility requirements are based on program selection, household income, Washington residency, completion of the WASFA, and over 18 years old.

Who do I contact?

If you have any questions, please contact Terri Thayer at 360.752.8442 or by email at

Scholarships and Resources for Undocumented Students

You may be eligible for scholarships and other opportunities.

  • Opportunity Grant – Students may receive funds to cover tuition and mandatory fees up to 45 credits and up to $1000 for books and supplies. 
  • Foundation Scholarships– The BTC Foundation offers numerous scholarships. Applications will be accepted beginning April until June. Check the website for current deadlines and how to apply.
  • Institutional Work Study for DACA recipients – Students may be eligible for part-time on-campus employment. 
  • Latino Educational Achievement Project (LEAP) – The Latino/a Educational Achievement Project (LEAP) was started in 1998 to improve academic achievement of Latino students. LEAP offers services such as an annual educational conference and legislative day, student leadership forums and public education workshops for parents, students, and educators. LEAP is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization in Washington State.
  • Washington Dream Act Coalition – A grassroots youth movement founded by student leaders from the state of Washington in an effort to raise awareness and build support to push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the DREAM Act.
  • Northwest Immigration Rights Project – Northwest Immigrant Rights Project promotes justice for low-income immigrants by pursuing and defending their legal status. They focus on providing direct legal services, supported by their education and public policy work.
  • Educators for Fair Consideration – (E4FC) is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that empowers undocumented young people to pursue their dreams of college, career, and citizenship in the United States. They address the holistic needs of undocumented young people through direct support, leadership development, community outreach, and advocacy. Their programming is designed by and for undocumented young people with support from committed allies.

    Regular Hours

    Mon-Thu 8am-5pm
    Fri 8am-4pm
    Sat-Sun Closed


House Bill 1079 (HB 1079)

Washington state law changed the definition of “resident student” in July, 1, 2003.  House Bill 1079 allows certain students eligible for resident student status - and eligible to pay resident tuition rates when they attend public colleges or universities in this state. This bill allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates. This law only relates to tuition costs. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid or make these students eligible to work legally in the United States.

Do I qualify for in-state tuition under HB 1079?

  • Have you resided in Washington State for three (3) years immediately prior to receiving a high school diploma, and completed the full senior year at a Washington high school;


  • Completed the equivalent of a high school diploma and resided in Washington State for the three (3) years immediately before receiving your high school diploma or GED;


  • Continuously resided in the State since earning the high school diploma or GED.

If you meet the above requirements, then YES! You qualify for in-state tuition under HB 1079!

I'm eligible! What do I do now?

  1. After you fill out the admission application for the college, you can complete the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit. Note: If you are still in high school, you will need to wait until you graduate in order to turn the affidavit in.

  2. You can find the affidavit in the admissions office, on this website, and it should also be available to you at any high school, college, or university in the state.

  3. Lastly, submit the HB1079 affidavit to your college admissions office. The admissions office is located on the first floor of the College Services Building.

Where can I go if I have questions?

Contact the Terri Thayer at (360) 752-8442 or and make an appointment to come in. We can answer your questions, and help you fill out any paperwork you need including your college application, your Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit, and more! We can also help you find scholarship opportunities that will help you pay for school.

    Regular Hours

    Mon-Thu 8am-5pm
    Fri 8am-4pm
    Sat-Sun Closed


In June 2012, the DACA Initiative was announced by the Department for Homeland security. DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows certain individuals, who meet specific guidelines, to request consideration of deferred action from USCIS. Individuals who receive deferred action will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a specified period of time unless terminated. If you receive deferred action, you may be eligible for employment authorization. This allows young people that were brought to the United States as children, who do not present a risk to the national security or public safety, to be considered for deferred action and work authorization.

Can I be considered?

  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday.
  • You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15 2007, up to the present time.
  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
  • You entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, and do not otherwise pose a threat.
  • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained your certificate from high school or earned your GED , have obtained an honorably discharged  veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed forces of the United States.
  • You were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS.

Below are some helpful resources to help you understand more of the process and benefits of this program.

The process of Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (attached pdf should be a link)

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, run by the Department of Homeland Security, can provide access all the required forms to apply for DACA, as well as a description, guidelines and eligibility criteria.

DREAMer resources can also connect you with workshops, community presentations, and legal clinics specifically targeted towards those interested in learning more about DACA.

What are DACA students eligible for?

DACA students are not able to apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). However, other funding may be available for DACA students.