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College Access for Undocumented Students in California 

AB 540/SB 68: IN-STATE TUITION & RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS:

In-State Tuition vs CA Dream Act vs DACA

Understand the differences between CA In-State Tuition (AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68), CA Dream Act, and DACA, including their implications for tuition and financial aid.

CA Nonresident Tuition Exemption Affidavit (AB 540)

Use this form to apply for AB 540/SB 68 status & be exempt from non-resident fees at CA public colleges & universities.

SB 68 Fact Sheet & SB 68 Quick Guide

Learn how in-state tuition eligibility has expanded to include community colleges (credit/noncredit) & adult schools in CA. This could allow you to pay resident fees at CCCs, CSUs & UCs, as well as apply for the CA Dream Act.

CA Residency for Tuition Purposes

Learn how California residency and AB 540/SB 68 affect the amount of tuition that you pay at CA public colleges & universities.

CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT & STATE-BASED FINANCIAL AID:

Types of CA State Financial Aid available through the CA Dream Act

Find out what kinds of financial aid and institutional scholarships you can apply for through the CA Dream Act. You must be eligible for AB540/SB68 or hold TPS or U-Visa. You must also meet the income guidelines, apply by the priority deadlines, and complete all necessary paperwork on time.

FAFSA vs CA Dream Act: Apply to the Correct Financial Aid

Have questions about which financial aid application you should apply to? Use this chart to be sure you complete the proper application and receive all CA state financial aid for which you are eligible.

CA Dream Act Map

Understand the four phases required to successfully complete the California Dream Act application and receive the maximum amount of aid for which you are eligible. The priority deadline is March 2nd of every year!

IDEAL TIMELINE TO APPLY TO CA DREAM ACT, Review this timeline and stay on track:

  1. October 1 - March 2 Apply for the CA Dream Act 
  2. October 1 - March 2 Apply for The Cal Grant 
  3. March - May Claim your Financial Aid 
  4. May - September Use your Financial Aid

STEPS AND TOOLS TO APPLY FOR CA DREAM ACT:

Phase 1. Apply for CA Dream Act - October 1 - March 2 Checklist for the 2021-22 CA Dream Application

Applying for the CA Dream Act is only the first step to receiving state-based financial aid. This checklist helps you successfully apply for and be considered for all state financial aid

Phase 2. Apply for Cal Grant - October 1 - March 2 Checklist to Apply for the 2021-22 Cal Grant

Use this checklist to successfully apply for the Cal Grant. Too many students forget this step and miss out on the financial aid they are eligible for!

Phase 3. Claim Your Aid - March - May Verifying Your Income for the CA Dream Act Application

Don’t let income verification stop you from receiving your financial aid. Understand the necessary documentation you must provide and requirements for dependent versus independent students and tax filers versus non-tax filers.

Phase 4. Use your Aid - May - September Selective Service and CA Dream Act

Are you a male between the age of 18 and 25 years old? Be sure to register for the selective service and show proof to your college or university. You may not receive your financial aid if you miss this step. We’ve also included information for individuals who are over 25 but never registered.

SCHOLARSHIPS:

List of undergraduate and graduate scholarships that don’t require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency

All undocumented students in California can go to college and receive private or institutional scholarships—even if they don’t meet eligibility for AB 540/SB 68 or the CA Dream Act. Find and apply for scholarships!

CSUSB Undocumented Student Success Center Scholarship Resource Guide

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) Scholarship Guide

Over 40 pages of scholarships, fellowships, and internships that do not require any type of citizenship nor legal residency all placed together by USSC staff for you!

Scholarship Search Chart

Identify and create a game plan for all the scholarships you plan to apply for.

Building Your Scholarship Essay

Use this worksheet to get started in building a strong scholarship essay.

OTHER RESOURCES:

CCOP’s CA Undocumented Student Resource Map

Find available support at a CA college or university near you.

UndocuHustle Learning Hub

Learn how to earn income, regardless of your immigration status

Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students (.pdf/1MB)

Different financial aid policies depending on each state

Am I eligible for scholarships?

Yes, you just need to find ones that you qualify for. There are many organizations that provide scholarship guides for undocumented students, check out the ones listed above

Can I get federal financial aid?

No. You can’t get federal financial aid unless you’re a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen. This means you should not fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Can I get a Pell Grant?

No. Pell Grants are a type of federal financial aid.

Does every state offer the same financial aid opportunities as California?

It depends on where you live. Some states offer financial aid to undocumented students and some don’t. The rules often change, so be sure to get the latest information. The Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students (.pdf/1MB) has information about policies in several states.

Do I pay the in-state or out-of-state rate at a public college in my home state?

It depends on where you live. Some public colleges may offer you in-state tuition rates based on proof of residency in the state. Others may treat you as an out-of-state or international student and require you to pay the higher rate. Make sure to check out the tuition page on the college's website.