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College Resources for Undocumented Students


California is a leader within the nation in supporting undocumented immigrants in their path to obtain a college degree.   If you are considered a “non-resident” student in CA looking to go to college or access higher education, you will pay much higher tuition fees than resident students. However, California has a set of laws that can provide you with in-state tuition and state-based financial aid, if you meet the eligibility requirements.


What It Does:

 AB540 is a state law that exempts certain students who are not residents of California from paying nonresident tuition at public colleges and universities in California.This law makes college more affordable for qualified undocumented students by exempting them from paying significantly higher out-of-state tuition.

What It Does Not Do

Does not change a students state residency status

Eligibility Requirements:
In order to be eligible for AB540, students must:

  1. Attend three full years of high school in CA or the equivalent for GED 

  2.  Graduate from a CA high school, obtain a Certificate of Completion or a GED in CA 

  3. Not possess a valid nonimmigrant visa (unless a T visa or TPS status)

  4. File an affidavit with their intended college or university stating their eligibility under AB540 and intention of applying for a lawful immigration status as soon as they are eligible.( Participating colleges and universities will have their own affidavit available at their school sites)



The California Dream Act (State Based Financial Aid)

The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions to apply for and receive private scholarships funded through public universities, state administered financial aid, University grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants.

CA Dream Act Financial Aid Application 

You are eligible to complete the Dream Act Application if you are a:

Student who is not eligible to file the FAFSA and you:

• Meet the requirements of AB 540 or AB 2000 and/or

• Reside in California with a U-Visa or

• Reside in California with a Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

You can find the Dream Act application and more information about applying at

Understand the Differences: In-State Tuition vs CA Dream Act vs DACA

If you have questions about your eligibility, check out this chart that compares AB 540, AB 2000, the California Dream Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in more detail. Please be aware that DACA does not give students eligibility for the FAFSA or any federal financial aid.

How to Guarantee You Use the Correct Financial Aid Application in California

If you have questions about which financial aid application you should complete or have questions about your eligibility, use this guide to be sure you receive all financial aid for which you are eligible.

Are you a U.S.Citizen, but your parent(s) is/are undocumented?

If you are a U.S. Citizen, but your parent is undocumented, you should use this guide to identify the necessary steps to be able to pay resident fees at a public college or university in California, apply for the FAFSA and receive state financial aid in California


Supporting College-Bound Undocumented Students Parent Guides

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* information for this page was sourced from and