California Dream Act

The California DREAM Act is a state legislation that will allow undocumented, AB540 students to apply and compete for institutional financial aid in the public colleges and universities in California.

AB 130 would allow eligible AB 540 students to apply for and receive scholarships at California public colleges and universities derived from non-state funds. This bill will go into effect January 1, 2012.

AB 131 would allow eligible AB 540 student to apply for and receive financial aid at California public colleges and universities partially derived from state funds. This bill will go into effect January 1, 2013.


AB 540, a California law passed in 2001, allows students to pay in-state tuition rates if they meet all of the following requirements:

1) Attended a California high school for 3 or more years.
2) Graduated from a California high school with a high school diploma or attained the equivalent (GED).
3) After getting accepted to a California public university or college, if undocumented, the student must file an affidavit with the intended college or university stating their eligibility under AB 540 and intention of applying for a lawful immigration status as soon as they are eligible.

Before AB 130 and AB 131, AB 540 status holders who were undocumented did not qualify for financial aid administered by the state or their respective institutions.

What does AB 131 do for undocumented students?

This bill allows undocumented students who qualify for AB 540 to participate in state funded financial aid programs:

* AB 131 calls for California’s community colleges to allow students to apply for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waivers, which waive the educational fees of qualifying low-income students.
* AB 131 also calls for the establishment of procedures and forms that would enable current AB 540 status holders to apply for, and participate in, other student aid programs administered by California’s public colleges and universities such as institutional aid derived from tuition revenue.
*AB 131 calls for the State of California to allow AB-540 status holders to participate in any state-administered financial aid programs such as Cal Grants. However, funds for the Competitive Cal Grants A and B will not be made available to undocumented students unless funding remains available after their California resident counterparts have received theirs. Please check the Cal Grants website for information on the different types of Cal Grants that California administers

How can an undocumented student access funds made available by AB 131?

For institutional-based awards, students must apply and compete for available awards as outlined by their respective college or university. For Cal Grants or other state funded assistance, the California Student Aid Commission has develop a system for applying to aid, given that undocumented students cannot apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in order to determine their income level and need.
* Click here to fill out the application for the CA Dream Act
* Click here for PDF File of Instruction Guide on filling out the application

–YouTube video on the CA DREAM Act application and how to get state financial aid–


--Courtesy of "IDEAS at UCLA"--