Release Date: Feb 20, 17, 12:00am

This letter was sent by the faculty of SSA to all SSA alumni, students, and staff.

February 21, 2017

Dear SSA Alumni,

We are writing as a unified faculty of SSA to ask you to join us in support for the four DACA students (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) studying at SSA under mounting immigration-related concerns and anxieties – including urgent financial struggles and growing uncertainties about their immigration status and future as SSA students and graduates. This is, we believe, a crucial moment to stand with our vulnerable DACA students.

Five years ago, President Obama introduced the DACA program, temporarily protecting eligible youth from deportation and allowing them to work. To date, over 740,000 young people have registered, many have attended college, and others have continued on to graduate programs. With the inauguration of a new President, DACA is at risk. DACA was established by executive action and can be rescinded at any time.

To demonstrate our support, SSA full-time faculty have contributed the seed money to establish a special fund for our DACA students. SSA's administration wholeheartedly backs this initiative and has matched faculty contributions dollar for dollar. We are writing to invite our generous alumni community to join us in this effort. Use this link to make an online gift.

SSA has set up a special fund to be used to ease the considerable financial burdens of DACA students. These students cannot access federal or state financial aid, discounted federal loans, or apply for federal work-study, all crucial forms of assistance that help make SSA affordable. SSA has proudly accepted these students into its master's and doctoral programs and remains committed to them. They are powerful role models in our community and our campus, deeply dedicated to addressing social inequality and injustice with energy, commitment, and forward thinking. These students' skills are urgently needed in social work.

The annual cost for SSA's master's program tuition, fees, and living expenses is $71,000. SSA financial aid and gifts from alumni and other donors provide DACA students with tuition aid averaging $30,000, or 42% of costs. Part of that assistance comes in the form of loans that may be difficult to repay if DACA is eliminated and our graduates lose the right to work. Support from the DACA fund will allow students to center more fully on their studies and field placements and better prepare for what may lay ahead for immigrant communities. Will you join us with your support and gift?

You may contribute in these ways:

  • Online. Use this link to make an online gift. Select "SSA" from the Unit Box and "The SSA Fund" from the Fund Box. After providing your contact information, type "DACA" in the Special Instructions Comment Box, then enter your payment information, and click "Give Now" to complete your gift. You will receive an email confirmation.
  • Make a Pledge. You can pledge now and make a payment later. Contact Steve Gilmore.

In 1924 Edith Abbott, Dean of SSA, addressed social workers at the annual National Conference of Social Work Proceedings and said, "Never have we had a better time to examine carefully, thoughtfully, and even solemnly the immigration policies of our country." These words continue to resonate today. SSA faculty thank you for supporting our students.

Best,

SSA Faculty for DACA Students