Financial Aid Information for Undocumented Students
If you are an undocumented student and you live in
California, the following financial aid opportunities are likely to
apply to you.
California In-State Tuition
Since October 2001, California has extended the benefit of
in-state tuition (only at public colleges and universities in
California) to undocumented students who have attended at least
three years of high school in the state.
Basic AB 540 requirements:
- You have attended a high school (public or private) in
California for three years (six semesters) or more.
- You have graduated from a California high school, or obtained a
- You must file an AB 540 affidavit (also known as the California
nonresident Tuition Exemption Form) with your college or
university, stating that you have or you will file an application
to legalize as soon as you are eligible to do so.
How to apply for AB 540:
Complete the affidavit form (under #3 above) to request an
exemption from Non-resident tuition. You must submit any
documentation required by the college or univeristy (for example,
proof of high school attendance in California).Contact the
California Community College, University of California, California
State University campus or any other university where you intend to
enroll (or are enrolled) for instructions on documentation,
addtional procedures and applicable deadlines.
Further instructions on applying for AB 540 status can be found
on the Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) website at www.e4fc.org.
Financial Aid for College
The California Dream Act
The California Dream Act is the name given to Assembly bills 130
& 131 which allow some undocumented students to apply for and
receive state-based financial aid and institutional
Assembly Bill 130 is the California state law that gives
colleges and universities the discretion to award institutional
scholarships to undocumented students who qualify for Assembly Bill
540 (check AB 540 requirements above).This includes schoalrships
funded through private donors, alumni contributions and individual
departmental efforts. Students must apply and compete for available
awards as determined by their respective college or university.
Assembly Bill 131 allows eligible AB 540 students to access
state funded financial aid programs (e.g. Cal Grants, State
University Grants and Board of Governor's Fee Waivers).
To qualify for the California Dream Act a student must
meet the following requirements:
1. Meet AB 540 criteria (see above for
2. Fall udner one of the following immigrant categories:
Undocumented, U-visa, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
3. Must qualify for financial aid programs by demonstrating
4. Must register for Selective Service (males 18-25 years old
Chart of Financial Aid Programs Available for Undocumented
Students Who Qualify for the Callfornia Dream Act
For a chart of benefits for
undocumented students related to other categories outside of
financial aid, view Educators for Fair Consideration's (E4FC)
Benefits Comparison Chart.
Tips for filling out the California Dream Act Application:
- If you have a Social Security Number (SSN) through Deferred
Action, you should fill out the California Dream Act Application,
NOT the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You will
still be eligible for state aid.
- Selective Services Registration: Even though undocumented
males are not eligible to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, males who
are 18-25 years of age must be registered with Selective Services
to be eligible for state student aid. All male students can
register at their local post office by filling out and mailing a
Selective Services postcard. Even if you are undocumented, you must
register to be eligible. No SSN required.
- It is important to file the California DREAM Act Application as
early as possible. Filling out the application online is the fastest and easiest way
to submit the application. When you create an account make sure to
write down your password and PIN so you can return to the
Information/Documents needed to fill out the DREAM Act
- W-2 forms and other 2014 records of income (if your parents
- 2014 income tax returns (if your parents have any)
- Records of child support paid or received (if applicable)
- Records of student scholarships and fellowships included in
your/your parents' taxes
- Current bank statements (if applicable)
- Current business records if over 100 employees and/or farm
records (if applicable)
Each college or university will implement the benefits of
the California DREAM Act differently. It is up to you to be
proactive, ask questions, and be constantly in touch with the
financial aid office at your college or university in order to be
informed about the financial aid you qualify for and learn how to
apply for different types of aid.
For more detailed information on these laws, consult
Education for Fair Consideration's (E4FC) California Dream Act
resources page directly.
Guide for Undocumented Students in the United
Please view the following guide for more information regarding
resources for undocumented students living in the United States
(not just from California): U.S.
Department of Education Resources Guide for Undocumented
This guide provides the following helpful information for
- Information on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
(DACA) policy (page 5)
- More links to resources to help students navigate college,
financial aid and other relevant policies (pages 23-26)
- Information on students outside of Calfiornia who provide
financial aid opportunities for undocumented students (pages