Dreamers and Undocumented Students
Qualifying for In State Tuition and State Financial Aid
Under certain circumstances, undocumented students of California can qualify for in-state tuition at California public colleges and universities as well as apply for state financial aid. This population must comply with state-specific laws to be designated as qualified for both.
Below you will find a concise guide to help you advise your undocumented DREAMer population.
In-State Tuition: California Assembly Bill 540 allows non-resident students who meet certain qualifications to pay in-state tuition. These students may include undocumented students, students who are US citizens but who are not CA residents, and dependent students whose parents are not CA residents. AB 540 students are those who:
- Have attended a CA high school for a minimum of three years; or attainment of credits in California from a California high school equivalent of at least three or more years of full-time high school coursework and a total of three or more years of attendance in California Elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of those schools.
- Graduated or will graduate from a California high school or attainment of General Education Development (GED); High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC)
- Will register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university, and
- If applicable, complete an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as eligible, and
- Do not hold a valid non-immigrant visa.
If the student has Temporary Protected Status or holds a U Visa, the student may be eligible for the California Dream Act and should apply using the CADAA. If you have Temporary Protected Status or hold a U Visa you may be eligible for the California Dream Act and should apply using the CADAA.
To obtain AB 540 eligibility, the student will be required to fill out an affidavit and provide supporting documentation to the campus Residency Deputy, Admissions Office, or Registrar of the college or university the student will be attending. The student should seek to complete this process in the spring or summer before you begin attending (or in fall for those who will be starting school in the spring).
California DREAM Act Application: California Assembly Bill 131 allowed qualified AB 540 students access to apply to the Cal Grant program to receive state financial aid to assist in paying tuition and fees at a California public or private school. Students must apply using the California DREAM Act Application or CADAA. The application opens on October 1st of each year and closes on the priority deadline of March 2nd.