"All students should prepare for college regardless of immigration status. By law, undocumented students have a right to Kindergarten to 12th grade. A college education may not be a right, but it is a life necessity. Young people now-a-days need the best preparation for life and that means that preparing for the workforce is preparing for college." - AB540.com
California Dream Act of 2011
The California Dream Act of 2011, authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), became law through the passage of two Assembly Bills. AB 130 (pdf) & AB 131 (pdf).
AB 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria California Education Code 68130.5(a) (pdf) to apply for and receive non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.
AB 131 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant. You can apply for financial aid through the California Dream Act application which can be found at dream.csac.ca.gov. This website will give you full information about the benefits you can now receive as a result of the California Dream Act.
AB 540 & AB 2000
The California Assembly Bill AB 540 first enacted in 2001 and subsequently updated via AB 2000 in 2014 offer asistance to certain individuals who do not meet California Residency for the purposes of education.
AB 540 Guidelines & 68130.5 Requirements for Eligibility
- Must have attended a California high school for 3 or more full academic years (between grades 9 though 12, inclusive and does not need to be consecutive years.);
- Must have or will graduate from a California high school or have attained a G.E.D.; or received a passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE);
- Must register or is currently enrolled at an accredited institution of public higher education in California;
- Must file or will file an affidavit as required by individual institutions, stating that the filer will apply for legal residency as soon as possible;
- Must not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, E, etc.)
AB 540 Ineligibility
An ineligible student is one who does not meet the AB 540 criterion. In most situations, not having met the three years attendance at a California high school is what prevents a student from qualifying for AB 540. Students can still attend the university as long as they meet the admissions criteria and are accepted by the college or university, but must pay non-resident fees.
In State tuition
AB 540 created a new exemption from payment of nonresident tuition for certain nonresident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Expanding ease of access
AB 2000 provides that a student may qualify for exemption from nonresident tuition either by high school attendance in California for 3 or more years or by either elementary or secondary school attendance, or both, in California for a total of 3 or more years and attainment of credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to 3 or more years of full-time high school coursework, in addition to the other conditions referenced as part of the AB540 bill.
AB 540 Students Can Apply to EOP
AB 540 students now may also apply to EOP programs as long as they are either low income and/or first generation college students. To apply for EOP, applicants need to submit their CSU admission application on www.CSUMentor.edu, during the specified application period. Right before the end of the application you will see “Are you interested in applying to EOP?” Select YES and then in the next page you will follow a link to begin the online EOP Application.
*Marking yes does not indicate applying to EOP. You must also finish the separate EOP application.
Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status. This is all made possible through an Executive Action by the Obama administration; as this is not a law, this status can be revoked or terminated at any time by the executive branch of the government (President).
For more information on all up-to-date requirements and related information please visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals
Education Without Borders
With upwards of 30,000+ students at SDSU, finding a support network and groups which one can identify can be a crucial component of student success when in higher education, EWB is one such group for AB540 & other marginalized students.
At San Diego State University, one of the main groups making a concerted effort to work with undocumented/AB540/Dreamer students is Education Without Borders at San Diego State University (EWB). EWB is an entirely student run organization founded on April 24th, 2009 which aims to highlight the issues affecting, and create a support system for, all undocumented and marginalized students; in doing so, they encourage diversity and promote equal access of education regardless of situation or circumstance.
Supporting AB 540 Students
Currently, EWB’s focus is on supporting undocumented students by providing them with knowledge about the services and opportunities specifically available to them on campus and the community at large all-the-while continuing to increase public knowledge and support by creating allies on campus and in the community at-large through presentations, interactions, education and by being an actively participating visible presence in all aspects.
To learn more or become involved, please visit their website empower.sdsu.edu or attend one of their weekly meetings.
Resources for Undocumented Students
Relevant Articles for AB 540 Students
Scholarships for AB 540 Students
Dream Act Information
Dream Act Presentations
(For PDF files, download Adobe Acrobat Reader if needed)