Is Medicine Just a DREAM for DACA Students? DACA Practices and Policies Among U.S. Medical Schools

J Immigr Minor Health. 2021 May 27;1-4. doi: 10.1007/s10903-021-01211-w. Online ahead of print.


As of 2020, 75 accredited institutions with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) are described as "DACA-friendly" and welcome undocumented students to apply under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, there is wide variation in their DACA policies, complicating an already demanding application process. Herein, we discuss this process and the common challenges for DACA-recipients. From September 2018 to July 2019, a three-item survey was emailed to admissions representatives at DACA-accepting institutions. While all participating universities were familiar with DACA, only 58% of representatives were aware of their institutional policies. Further, less than 10% of schools reserved funds for DACA-recipients; some required proof of payment for all 4 years prior to matriculation. The number of "DACA-friendly" institutions having enrolled DACA students is limited. Open promotion of institutional DACA policies may increase the number of recipients that successfully complete US medical training.

Keywords: Admissions; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); Immigration; Medical education; Policy.