California Dream Act

The California Dream Act extends eligibility for certain types of UC and California financial aid to students, including undocumented students, who qualify for a nonresident tuition exemption under AB 540.

Undocumented students

As an undocumented student, you may be eligible for state and UC aid, as well as private scholarships. Undocumented students are ineligible for federal aid (including federal loans and grants, and the federal work-study program).

What you need to do

If you think you meet the requirements for an AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption, here's how to make sure you're considered for financial aid:

  • 2. File a California Dream Act Application between Jan. 1 and March 2. When you do this, you’ll need to confirm that you’ve registered for the Selective Service (if you’re a male under age 26). If you have a valid Social Security number, you can register online. If not, you'll need to register in-person at any U.S. Post office. For help filling out the California Dream Act Application, download our Dream Act application guide (pdf).
  • 3. Make sure your GPA has been submitted for a Cal Grant (in addition to the California Dream Act Application). California community colleges and most California high schools automatically submit students' GPAs for Cal Grants. Check with your school to make sure; if they don't automatically submit your GPA, download the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form and have your school submit it to the California Student Aid Commission.
  • 6. If you then receive a nonresident classification, complete the AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption forms, which you can get at your campus registrar’s office.

    If you're an undocumented student and are not eligible for an AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption, you will be ineligible for all federal, state and institutional aid. Private loans and scholarships are the only financial aid options.

Visit Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) for more information specific to undocumented students.

Nonresident U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens (AB 540 eligible)

If you are a citizen or eligible non-citizen, and meet the requirements for an AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption, you may qualify for state aid, in addition to federal and UC aid.

Follow the steps above, except instead of filing a California Dream Act Application, file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

DACA entitles students to be employed legally – which makes it much easier for students to find jobs to help cover some of their educational costs. Learn more about DACA at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

DACA has no effect on eligibility for the AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption or financial aid.

Learn more