AB 540 Frequently Asked Questions for Undocumented Students
Q: What is AB540?
- AB540 is the California legislation that allows undocumented students to attend a community college, state university, or university of California and pay resident fees.
Q: What are the qualifications for AB540?
- Students must have attended at least 3 years of high school in California.
- Students must graduate from a California high school or obtain the GED in California.
- Students must sign and submit an affidavit to the admissions office with a copy of their high school transcripts.
- *The law requires that all information be handled in a confidential manner.
Q: What is an affidavit?
- An affidavit is a declaration stating that the student completed 3 years of high school, graduated from high school, or earned the equivalency of a high school diploma in California. It also declares that the student intends to adjust his/her immigration status whenever qualified. The affidavit form is titled California Nonresident Tuition Exemption and can be downloaded from this website.
- Students are not required to submit a new affidavit when there is continuous enrollment. Continuous enrollment, also known as continuous attendance, begins when a student has graduated from high school and enrolls in any California Community College (CCC) or California State University (CSU). Students maintain continuous enrollment and their catalog rights as long as they remain officially enrolled in at least one semester or two quarters during a calendar year (January through December), regardless of the number of units completed.
Q: What is AB2000?
- AB2000 is a new California Legislation that expands AB540 qualifications. AB2000 allows students to qualify by attending any 3 years of K-12 education in California as long as they also meet the other AB540 requirements.
Q: Are current nonimmigrant visa holders eligible for AB 540 status?
- Current nonimmigrant visa holders are not eligible for this tuition exemption.
Tourist (F visa) or student (B visa)]
Q: Are AB540 students considered California residents?
- Students categorized as AB540 will not be classified as California residents.
Q: What does it mean to be undocumented?
- If you are not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and do not currently possess a green card, visa, or other legal documentation, you are considered an undocumented immigrant. DACA employment authorization does not qualify as legal documentation.
Q: If I am undocumented and interested in applying for residency, what should I do?
- In order to find out if you are eligible to apply for legal permanent residency, contact a licensed immigration attorney or BIA accredited organization. DO NOT give your money to a “notario.” In the United States, a “notario” is not an attorney and cannot help you establish residency.
Q: If I am undocumented, can I go to college?
- YES. Undocumented students can go to any college or university in California if they meet admissions requirements.
Q: If I am undocumented, can I apply for financial aid?
- If you qualify under AB540 law, you qualify for California aid. You must complete the California Dream Act Application at www.caldreamact.org and follow up with your financial aid office.
Q: What is the California Dream Act?
- The California Dream Act is a series of California legislations that allow undocumented students to attend college or university and receive institutional and California Grants. (Please see California legislations that help AB540 Students on this website.)
Q: What do I need to do after I apply for the California Dream Act?
- Constantly check your student center. Your “To Do” list will indicate the forms that you must turn in to the Financial Aid office. Do this immediately.
Q: What is a Cal Grant?
- A Cal Grant is financial assistance that may be offered to you through your application for the California Dream Act. Check your Cal Grant status online at mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov. If you learn that you have qualified for a Cal Grant and it is not posted on your financial aid award, contact the Financial Aid office immediately.
Q: Where can I go to find out about scholarships for undocumented students?
- Please read the section, “Paying for College,” on this website.
Q: How do I qualify to pay in-state tuition?
- You must qualify for AB 540/AB 2000 law and submit the required forms. If you are under the age of 19 by the time of enrollment, you may also qualify if one of your parents is a legal resident of California.
Q: Do I need to be in the process of adjusting my immigration status in order to qualify for AB540 law?
Q: Does AB540 law apply at private universities or technical colleges?
NO. AB540 law applies only at PUBLIC community colleges and universities in California (CSU/UC). Therefore undocumented students attending a private institution may be charged the non-resident tuition.
Q: Do adult school students qualify for AB540?
- Yes, if the adult school courses were used to complete high school graduation requirements.
Q: What is the process for applying to the university for AB540 students?
- Please read the “CSU Application Process for AB540 Students” on this website.
Q: What happens if I have already given the school a false SS# or stated citizenship?
- Students who qualify for AB 540 but have falsified information in the past will have to address this issue with the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) when they apply to adjust their immigration status. At the school, they should meet with a counselor they trust and change their classification to AB 540. Some campuses penalize the student financially so the student needs to work with a trusted counselor. If transferring from a CC to a CSU or UC, the student should apply under AB 540 even if at the CC they falsified information.
Q: What is DACA?
- DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, A policy approved by President Obama that grants employment authorization to individuals that meets the following criteria:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
- Please read the DACA PowerPoint in this website.
Q: Who should I contact for assistance?