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Legislation and Policies

The California Dream Act allows eligible undocumented students to receive California State sponsored financial aid. Authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), it became law in 2011 through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131. Both pieces of legislation enable students who qualify under AB 540 and AB 2000 (see that section) to be eligible for certain types of state financial aid. Students may be eligible for CSU scholarships and grants, Cal Grants, Chafee Foster Youth Grants and other state financial aid.

AB 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria (California Education Code 68130.5(a)) 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.

Students will need to complete the California Dream Application every year to determine continuing eligibility for state and institutional aid. The annual deadline to submit is March 2nd each year.

The Dream Application will collect basic personal and income information to determine student eligibility for funding under AB 131. AB 540 requires that state colleges and universities keep student information confidential. A student's immigration status cannot and will not be reported to immigration officials or any other third party.

Students of Cal State East Bay should also complete and submit the California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request form in order to begin a review of eligibility.

Together, two Assembly Bills, AB 540 (passed in 2001) and AB 2000 (passed in 2014), permit certain eligible California high school graduates exemption from paying non-resident tuition fees.

To qualify for in-state tuition fees students must meet certain eligibility requirements. This does not grant residency status; rather, it simply exempts a student from paying non-resident tuition fees. Non-resident students will continue to be classified as a non-residents.

AB 540/AB 2000 Requirements

To be eligible, a student must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Attended a CA high school for 3 or more years (9th grade counts);
  • Graduated (or will graduate) from a CA high school or the equivalent (GED or a Certificate of Proficiency);
  • Must register or be currently enrolled at an accredited institution of public higher education in California;
  • Must sign the California Nonresident Exemption Request, California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request form (AB 540 affidavit) with the university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. Complete and submit the affidavit to the Office of Admission;
  • And not currently hold a valid lettered, non-immigrant visa.

For information about how and when to submit the California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request form, contact the Office of Admission at

DACA is a program of the Department of Homeland Security that was created under President Obama. It temporarily suspends the deportation of some unauthorized individuals living in the United States. DACA was announced on June 15, 2012. Students who are granted DACA status may be employed legally in the US for up to two years (if they demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment”). If a student receives a work authorization permit through DACA, they will also receive a temporary Social Security Number for work purposes.

If you are thinking about applying for DACA, make sure to get the information you need before submitting an application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you have additional questions, send an e-mail to:

Please note: DACA has no effect on eligibility for AB 540 classification or financial aid.


Any applications to USCIS will be rejected without refund.

Advance Parole is a travel document that some individuals can apply for while in the United States before traveling, that gives qualified individuals advance permission to enter back into the United States 

  • Individuals cannot apply for Advance Parole document unless they are approved for Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACAmented individuals can apply from within the US to travel abroad for certain purposes: 

  • Humanitarian examples: visiting sick relatives, funeral services, medical assistance, urgent family related purposes
  • Educational examples: Study Abroad programs through the campus, academic research
  • Employment purposes: Meeting, conferences, training, interviews, overseas assignments

For more information visit US Citizenship and Immigration Services website to find the Application for Travel Document.

More information

Immigration Equality has an immigration site that covers many topics that don't appear above.
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