FAQS


State Law Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540)

To be eligible for the tuition exemption, a student must have:

a) Attended a high school in California for three or more years; and
b) Graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof; and
c) Enrolled, or is registering to be enrolled, at the University of California after Jan. 1, 2002.

Note that as of 2006, graduation from a California public high school required passage of the California High School Exit Exam, or CAHSEE.

Nonimmigrant students are not eligible for this exemption. Nonimmigrants, as defined by federal immigration law, may hold one of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, TN, TD and V, and TROV and NATO. (This list of visa types is illustrative, not exhaustive.)

All students applying for this exemption must sign an affidavit. If a student is without lawful immigration status, the student must state 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.

Yes. For purposes of eligibility for the tuition exemption, enrollment in the 9th grade, whether at a middle or a high school, counts toward the California high school attendance criterion.

No. The three years for a student's 9th through 12th grades need not be consecutive or completed at a single California school. For example, if a student attended 9th grade at a California middle or high school, left the state to attend 10th grade in another state, and returned to a second qualified California high school to complete 11th and 12th grades, that student would still meet the requirement of three years of high school attendance in California.

The three possibilities include the following:

a) A diploma from a California high school;
b) A High School Equivalency Certificate, issued by the California State GED Office; or
c) A Certificate of Proficiency, resulting from the California High School Proficiency Examination.

No. It does not matter how long ago the student graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof.

No. Undergraduate and graduate/professional students may be eligible, regardless of their current class level.

The University will review on a case-by-case basis AB 540 applications from California home-schooled students to determine if they qualify for the exemption.

No. This type of private school would not meet the requirements of Section 48222 of the California Education Code, which defines a "high school in California" for the purposes of exemption eligibility.

No. Students will be asked to complete a Statement of Legal Residence; students who are classified as non-residents may request an AB 540 application and affidavit. Until students self-identify and apply for the tuition exemption, the campus will not know which students qualify. However, once a student has been deemed eligible, that student need not reapply to that campus while continuously enrolled.

No. Students will be asked to complete a Statement of Legal Residence; students who are classified as non-residents may request an AB 540 application and affidavit. Until students self-identify and apply for the tuition exemption, the campus will not know which students qualify. However, once a student has been deemed eligible, that student need not reapply to that campus while continuously enrolled.

Applications can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar at the UC campus where the student has been accepted for admission and is enrolling. 

Yes. Information about specific student eligibility for this exemption is not shared among the California public higher education systems; thus, a student who was declared eligible for AB 540 status at another California college or university needs to self-identify again once enrolled at UC. Moreover, UC determines eligibility for this exemption independently of prior determinations made by other California institutions.

California DREAM Act

If you or your family has unusual circumstances that impact your ability to pay for school (such as loss of employment, loss of benefits, death, or divorce), complete the Dream Act Application to the extent that you can and submit it as instructed. Then, talk to the financial aid administrator (FAA) at the school you plan to attend. If your family’s circumstances change after you complete the Dream Act Application, the FAA may decide, on a case-by case basis, to adjust data elements used to calculate your EFC. The FAA’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to CSAC.

If you are considered a dependent student by the application, but have no contact with your parents and are unable to provide your parents data on the Dream Act Application, you may have a special circumstance. If you are completing the Dream Act Application online, answer the questions to the best of your ability then sign and submit the form for processing. If you are completing a paper application, complete as much of the form as you can, sign, and submit it for processing. Your application will be incomplete and no EFC will be calculated, however, the financial aid offices at the schools listed on your Dream Act Application will still receive your data. Contact those schools listed on your Dream Act Application for further assistance to complete your application.

If you haven’t completed your tax return, you should calculate your adjusted gross income (AGI) and taxes paid using the instructions for IRS Form1040. You can get the instructions and the format a public library or download them from the IRS website. Keep in mind that if you submit your application before you complete a tax return, you may need to make corrections later if your income or tax information isn’t accurate. You will also need to return any federal student aid you received based upon incorrect information. Assuming you are required to file a tax return, you might be required to provide your school with a copy of your completed tax return before you receive financial aid.

Report the information of the parent with whom you lived the most during the 12 months preceding the date you completed the Dream Act Application. It does not make a difference which parent claims you as a dependent for tax purposes. If you did not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, the parental information must be provided for the parent from whom you received the most financial support during the preceding 12 months or the parent from whom you received the most support the last time support was given.

Learn more about the California Dream Act from the California Student Aid Commission. 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Individuals who can demonstrate through verifiable documentation that they meet these guidelines will be considered for deferred action. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis under the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum.

No. Although action on your case has been deferred and you do not accrue unlawful presence (for admissibility purposes) during the period of deferred action, deferred action does not confer any lawful status. The fact that you are not accruing unlawful presence does not change whether you are in lawful status while you remain in the United States. However, although deferred action does not confer a lawful immigration status, your period of stay is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security while your deferred action is in effect and, for admissibility purposes, you are considered to be lawfully present in the United States during that time. Apart from the immigration laws, “lawful presence," “lawful status” and similar terms are used in various other federal and state laws. For information on how those laws affect individuals who receive a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion under DACA, please contact the appropriate federal, state or local authorities.

No. Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer lawful permanent resident status or a path to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

No. You can only request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals under this process if you currently have no immigration status and were not in any lawful status on June 15, 2012.

To meet the continuous residence guideline, you must submit documentation that shows you have been living in the United States from June 15, 2007 up until the time of your request. You should provide documentation to account for as much of the period as reasonably possible, but there is no requirement that every day or month of that period be specifically accounted for through direct evidence.

It is helpful to USCIS if you can submit evidence of your residence during at least each year of the period. USCIS will review the documentation in its totality to determine whether it is more likely than not that you were continuously residing in the United States for the period since June 15, 2007.

Gaps in the documentation as to certain periods may raise doubts as to your continued residence if, for example, the gaps are lengthy or the record otherwise indicates that you may have been outside the United States for a period of time that was not brief, casual or innocent. If gaps in your documentation raise questions, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence to allow you to submit additional documentation that supports your claimed continuous residence.

Affidavits may be submitted to explain a gap in the documentation demonstrating that you meet the five-year continuous residence requirement. If you submit affidavits related to the continuous residence requirement, you must submit two or more affidavits, sworn to or affirmed by people other than yourself who have direct personal knowledge of the events and circumstances during the period as to which there is a gap in the documentation. Affidavits may only be used to explain gaps in your continuous residence; they cannot be used as evidence that you meet the entire five-year continuous residence requirement.

If you are in school at the time of your request and your case is deferred by USCIS, in order to have your request for an extension considered, you must show at the time of the request for renewal either (1) that you have graduated from the school in which you were enrolled and, if that school was elementary school or junior high or middle school, you have made substantial, measurable progress toward graduating from high school, or, (2) you have made substantial, measurable progress toward graduating from the school in which you are enrolled.

If you are currently in an education program that assists students either in obtaining a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under state law, or in passing a GED exam or other equivalent state-authorized exam, and your case is deferred by USCIS, in order to have your request for an extension considered, you must show at the time of the request for renewal that you have obtained a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent or that you have passed a GED or other equivalent state-authorized exam.

If you are currently enrolled in an education, literacy, or career training program (including vocational training) that is designed to lead to placement in postsecondary education, job training, or employment, and your case is deferred by USCIS, in order to have your request for an extension considered, you must show at the time of the request for renewal that you are enrolled in postsecondary education, that you have obtained the employment for which you were trained, or that you have made substantial, measurable progress toward completing the program. Specific details on the renewal process will be made available at a later date.

Learn more about DACA from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

See DACA post-election FAQ