AB 540 Financial Aid

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New Information on the 2017-2018 California Dream Act Application


Assembly Bill 540 is a law that was passed in 2001 by the California legislature and was recently amended with AB 2000. The law were written for students who are undocumented or a U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident who attended High School in California. If these students meet specific requirements, they are able to pay ‘resident fees’ instead of ‘non-resident fees’ if they attend a CA public institution of higher education.



Filling out the Affidavit:

  • Print the Affidavit, fill it out completely and sign it.
  • Make a copy of the AB 540 Affidavit for your records and send the original to SFSU.
  • The completed Affidavit form can be submitted in person at the One Stop Student Center in the Student Services Building, or be mailed to the attention of the SFSU Undergraduate Admission Office (for undergraduates) or the SFSU Graduate Division Office (for graduate students).
  • Deadline:
    The completed affidavit and official high school transcripts must be submitted prior to the first day of instruction for the initial semester of the AB540 request.If you fail to turn the affidavit in on time, you WILL NOT be able to receive non-resident tuition exemption until the following semester.
  • When filling out the affidavit, student who are undocumented (Without lawful immigration status) ) including students with DACA must check the second box. If you are a T or U visa holder, please check the first box on the form.

AB 540 Eligibility Criteria

  • Attend a California high school for a minimum of three or more years; OR
  • Attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years AND
  • Graduate from a California high school and pass the California High School Proficiency Exam OR get a GED (General Equivalency Diploma or Graduate from a California high school or the equivalent (for example: pass the California High School Proficiency Exam OR GED); AND
  • Enroll in an accredited California institution of higher education (CCC, CSU, or UC)
  • File a “Non-Resident Tuition Exemption” Affidavit with the school. In the case of students without legal immigration status, they must state that they have filed or will file an application to legalize their immigration status as soon as they are eligible to do so.

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AB 540 Rights & Privacy

Regardless of immigration status, students can apply for admission to a public college or university in California. The law allows students the following rights under AB 540 legislation:

  • Public colleges and universities in California cannot discriminate in admission based on a student's immigration status.
  • Students are not required to show an ID or Social Security Card for admission.
  • Students are not required to show proof of legal U.S. residency in the review of an application.

AB 540 for Citizens/PermR

If you are a U.S Citizen/Permanent Resident and meet the eligibility criteria to apply for a Non-Resident Tuition Exemption (AB 540), please follow these steps to assure that your enrollment process goes smoothly.

  1. Make sure you turn in the ab 540 Affidavit along with your official High School Transcript PRIOR to the first day of school. If you do not submit the form prior to the stated deadline, you will be charged Non-Resident Fees, and will be expected to pay the full amount. Once you have been approved for AB 4540 status, you will receive a letter or email from the university. Please do not wait until the last minute!

  2. For financial aid purposes, please make sure you fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline of March 2. You can check your financial aid status in your Student Center on the SF State Gateway. If you have been selected for income verification, it will be listed on your "To Do List". Please turn in any documents requested as soon as possible in order to receive a financial aid award. Please contact the AB 540 coordinators to ensure your State Financial Aid (if eligible) is reflected on your award.

AB 540 and undocumented students enrolled at SF State and other California public colleges or universities have the right to access the same general services as other students. These services include, but are not limited to Pre-admission Advising, Tutoring, Disabled Programs & Resource Center, Academic Advising, and more!

Does filing an AB 540 affidavit impact my California Legal Residency?

AB 540 does NOT establish legal residency for immigrant students or for undocumented students who are eligible for AB 540. It only exempts students from paying non-resident fees. Undocumented students who have questions about their legal residency should consult an immigration attorney.

Is My Information Private?

The information a student shares with a college or university is protected by federal law and CANNOT be shared with anyone, including immigration officials. It is protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. The school legally cannot share this information with third parties including the Department of Immigration and Naturalization (INS), now the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Also, not all AB 540 students are undocumented. Many are legal residents. AB 540 forms are worded in a way so as to protect undocumented students from having to declare their status (they are grouped with US citizens and permanent residents). The affidavit says “IF” they are an “alien without lawful immigration status,” then they will pursue a means to change their immigration status when it becomes available.

Below is the wording for the box all students (except students with visas) should check on the form and the affidavit:

  • “I am NOT a nonimmigrant alien. [U.S. citizens, permanent residents, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees or aliens without lawful immigration status, among others, should check this box.]”

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