Dreamers and Undocumented Students
What Are the Rules and Regulations?
About AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 and the California Dream Act
The California DREAM Act Application (CADAA) was established to answer the question of funding for students that qualified under AB 540 but struggled to finance a college education through external sources, such as scholarships or sponsorships. Additionally, scholarships that were awarded to DREAMers but given directly to California public institutions would then become state public monies that could not be accessed and used by the undocumented awardees. Those funds would unfortunately be converted to general scholarship funds for qualified students. Thus, the California legislature enacted SB 130 and SB 131 to resolve these two issues.
SB 130 addressed the issue with scholarships for qualified AB 540 students. SB 131 granted qualified AB 540 students access the the Cal Grant Entitlement awards, California DREAM Loans, and the California CHAFEE Grant, thereby establishing the CADAA. The CADAA is modeled after the FAFSA, using the same questions but with modifications to address proper awarding of the Cal Grant for DREAMers and making four-year colleges more accessible financially.
Below is a list of California Assembly and Senate Bills allowing undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition.
- Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), passed in 2001, grants students meeting certain criteria an exemption from paying resident tuition at the CSU.
- Assembly Bill 2000 (AB 2000), passed in 2014. This is an expansion of AB 540. It increases the scope of student eligibility for students who graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of three or more years of credits. If a student graduates early, they must have attended California elementary or secondary schools for a cumulative total of three or more years. It allows students meeting the criteria below to pay in-state tuition, the same as resident students.
- Senate Bill 68 (SB 68), passed in 2017. This public postsecondary education exemption from nonresident tuition was approved by the governor and filed with the Secretary of State on October 5, 2017. This legislation amended Education Code, Section 68130.5, changing the criteria for students eligible for a nonresident tuition exemption, as previously defined in Assembly Bill 540 (2001). Senate Bill 68 expands the requirements of AB 540/ AB 2000 to include attendance at California Community Colleges and attainment of an associate's degree.
- The California Dream Act (Assembly Bills 130 and 131) was signed into law in 2011. Together these bills compose the California Dream Act and give AB 540 / AB 2000 students the right to apply for state financial aid, including Cal Grant A & B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, institutional grants and community college fee waivers.
(Citation: The California State University website)