Bellingham Technical College welcomes you to campus! BTC is dedicated to assisting undocumented students in achieving their educational goals. In addition to providing educational support, BTC recognizes the financial challenges undocumented students face. In order to minimize funding barriers for undocumented students, BTC provides assistance through various funding options such as the State Need Grant and scholarships available on campus.

There is no federal or state law that prohibits undocumented student admissions to public or private universities in Washington state. Tuition rates may vary depending on status.

BTC understands the importance of confidentiality and maintains it for undocumented students on campus.

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Admissions to Bellingham Technical College is open to anyone regardless of undocumented status. The application process takes place online. Follow the Admissions Steps or use the BTC Admissions Checklist as a printable guide. To be eligible to register for classes, admissions steps one, two and three need to be completed.

Senate Bill 5194 (SB 5194)

Washington state law changed the definition of “resident student” in July 2021. SB 5194 allows certain students eligible for resident student status 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. It does not make undocumented students 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 SB 5194?

  • Earn a high school diploma, GED, or diploma equivalent before your first term at the college determining residency, AND
  • Maintain a primary residence in Washington State for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before your first term at the college determining residency.

If you meet the above requirements, then YES! You qualify for in-state tuition under SB 5194!

I'm eligible! What do I do now?

After you fill out the admission application for the college, you may be asked to complete the Washington Higher Education Residency AffidavitNote: If you are still in high school, you will need to wait until you graduate in order to turn the affidavit in.
You can download the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit or get it from the admissions office. It should also be available to you at any high school, college, or university in the state.
Lastly, submit residency 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 360.752.8345 or undocumented@btc.edu 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 Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA), and more! We can also help you find scholarship opportunities that will help you pay for school.

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Funding is available for those who qualify. Learn about the various funding options such as the Washington State Need Grant, the Opportunity Grant Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities available for undocumented students at BTC.

Financial Aid (Funding)

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

Who do I contact?

 If you have any questions, please contact 360.752.8345 or by email at undocumented@btc.edu.

Scholarships and Resources for Undocumented Students

You may be eligible for scholarships and other opportunities.

Opportunity Grant Scholarship
Students may receive funds to cover tuition and mandatory fees up to 45 credits and up to $1,000 for books and supplies.
Foundation Scholarships
The BTC Foundation offers numerous scholarships. Applications will be accepted beginning in April through 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.
College Bound Scholarship
The College Bound Scholarship program is an early commitment to support students who pledge to maintain the scholarship expectations. Those with DACA status may be eligible.
Northwest Immigration Rights Project
Northwest Immigration Rights Project promotes justice for low-income immigrants by pursuing and defending their legal status. It focuses on providing direct legal services, supported by its education and public policy work.

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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 specific period of time unless terminated. If you receive deferred action, you may be eligible for employment authorization. This allows young people who were brought to the United States as children, who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, to be considered for deferred action and work authorization.

You may be considered if:

  • 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
  • You 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, or have obtained an honorable discharged veteran from the Coast Guard or United States Armed Forces
  • 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

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

DACA Tool Kit

Immigration Scams to watch out for

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, run by the Department of Homeland Security, can provide access to 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.

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Become an Ally

An ally is someone who makes a personal commitment to fight oppression. An ally reflects on prejudice with a willingness to become aware, gain knowledge, and acquire the skills to affect change with action

Interacting with your Students

When a student comes to see you as an ally, they may share information about their immigration status with you with the keen awareness of the risks involved – the risk of jeopardizing their relationship with you, the risk of being rejected, and the risk of being denied success in your class or program.

How you react to their disclosure is critical. It can potentially help them or discourage them enough that they will abandon seeking help from you. The more positively you receive the information, the more comfortable you will make the student. The student may even share their ambivalence about telling you. Assure them of confidentiality, do not try to fix everything without knowing what could jeopardize a student's immigration status, do not give them false hope or guesstimates

Guidelines to keep in mind when interacting with undocumented students

Be aware of your own assumptions about being undocumented. Undocumented students are a diverse group who are not individually distinguishable from every other student. If you do not understand something or have questions, do not expect the student to be your informant on what it means to be undocumented. 

  • Clarify with them what level of confidentiality they expect from you. They may not want you to tell anyone
  • If a student reveals that they are undocumented, do not interrogate them about their immigration status. Listen attentively. If you do not know how to help them, tell them that you will find out and then get back to that student
  • Recognize that some others may be intolerant of the undocumented and that you may be a target as well
  • Do not ever give immigration advice, or suggest that one can identify themselves as a US citizen, drive without a license, or use false identification
  • Do not ask questions that would be considered rude. Never ask, "Are you illegal?"
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Hours & Contacts

Regular Hours

Mon to Thu: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fri: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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