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Credit-bearing Opportunities & Volunteering

Student with back facing camera works with a child in the Chester Children's Chorus

While all coursework and most volunteer programs are fully open to all students, regardless of immigration status, those that  require background checks, proof of residency, and international travel can pose challenges. Read on to learn about alternatives.

  • Certain courses require field experiences off-campus, some of which may require state-issued identification, state and federal clearances, or other documentation that would create vulnerabilities for undocumented students. However, professors and departments can help students find alternatives that meet the same learning goals but do not require background checks. Reach out to individual course professors — or ask a trusted advisor to do so — to determine requirements for participation and explore possible alternatives. 
  • All students, regardless of immigration status, are welcome to complete coursework toward teacher certification in the Department of Educational Studies. However, undocumented students (with or without DACA) are currently ineligible to apply for teacher certification in the state of Pennsylvania. See the Department's page on PA Teacher Certification for more information, including possible alternative pathways to teaching.
  • While undocumented students cannot study abroad and return to the U.S., they may participate in off-campus study within the United States. Options like the Domestic Exchange Program and summer language immersion opportunities are viable alternatives to study abroad that meet many of the same learning goals. Contact a staff member in the Office of Global Engagement as soon as you are considering off-campus study.

  • Volunteer opportunities that involve interaction with children or other vulnerable populations require federal clearances and government-issued identification, making them difficult for undocumented students to access. Undocumented students interested in volunteering should consider options that do not require such documentation, such as Learning for Life, the Chester Community Fellowships, the Chester Semester, or other opportunities that do not require Act 153 Clearances.