Dream Act FAQs
If I am undocumented, can I go to college?
- Yes, You can go to any college or university in California, if you meet the admissions requirements.
- You cannot be denied admission based on your immigration status to any state schools in California.
- You can pay in-state tuition if you meet the criteria for state law AB 540.
What is AB 540?
- AB540, signed into law on October 12, 2001, authorizes undocumented students who meet specific criteria to pay in-state tuition at California’s public colleges and universities.
- Any student, except a person in non-immigrant status, who meets the specific requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at all public colleges and universities in California.
- AB-540 only provides in-state tuition cost vs out-of state tuition for those who qualify, but does not provide any state or federal aid eligibility.
What does Non-Immigrant mean?
- Students with current nonimmigrant visas are not eligible for this tuition exemption (exp. Tourist (F Visa) or student (B Visa).
- A student whose visa has expired and is now “out of status,” will be eligible for in-state tuition fees if they meet their state undocumented stated requirements.
- Students categorized as AB 540 (undocumented) will not be classified as California residents.
- A student with “any” legal status is not considered undocumented.
What are AB540 facts?
- AB540 does not apply to private colleges or universities, unless they decide to abide the set requirements.
- AB540 does not grant legal residency to qualifying students.
- AB540 does not grant state or federal financial aid.
- AB540 only provides an exemption to the requirements of paying nonresident tuition for students who qualify.
What are the AB - 540 requirements?
- Student must have attended a high school in California for three years or more.
- Student must have graduated from a California High School or attained the equivalent of a high school diploma (i.e. Passed the GED or CA High School Proficiency Exam).
- Student must register or be currently enrolled in one of the three state institutions of higher learning (UC, CSU, Community Colleges).
- Student without Immigration status must file an affidavit with the public college or university stating that he or she has applied to legalize his or her legal status or will do so as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. (Some private schools may also require this, not enforced)
- All information provided by the student will be kept confidential by the college or university.
What is the Affidavit?
- The affidavit states that the student will adjust their status, as soon as they are eligible to do so.
- The affidavit is required by example at end of document law by the public college where the students will be attending.
- Students are not required to submit a new affidavit when there is continuous enrollment.
- The information on the affidavit is kept confidential, as required by law.
If I am undocumented, can I receive financial aid?
- As an undocumented student, you may currently qualify for state financial aid. The California Dream Act, divided into AB 130 and AB 131, provides access to private funding in the form of scholarships and state aid, specifically the California Cal Grant, for those who qualify.
What is the California Dream Act?
- AB130: Signed into law July 25, 2011, authorizes AB540 students to apply to privately funded scholarships given out by a California public college/university. Effective January 1, 2012
- AB131: Signed into law Oct. 8, 2011, authorizes AB540 students to apply for Board of Governor's Fee Waiver and Cal Grants. Effective January 1, 2013
Where do I go to fill out the Dream Act Application?
- Students can fill out the Dream Act Application at the following link: https://dream.csac.ca.gov/
Where can I go to find out about scholarships for undocumented students?
- For Mt. SAC scholarships, visit www.mtsac.edu/scholarships for current applications. You may also visit the following websites: www.maldef.org or www.salef.org. Both the MALDEF and SALEF sites provide a list of scholarships that do not require you to be a US citizen or a legal permanent resident, and do not ask for a social security number.