AB 540 Financial Aid

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Assembly Bills 130 & 131 passed in 2011 by the California legislature. This law increases opportunities for AB 540 students to receive financial aid while attending college.

AB 130 Effective January 1, 2012. Allows eligible AB 540 students to apply for & receive scholarships at California public colleges and universities derived from non-state funds.

AB 131 Effective January 1, 2013. Allows eligible AB 540 student to apply for and receive financial aid at California public colleges and universities partially derived from state funds beginning in the Spring 2013 semester.

To be considered for state aid, CSU Students MUST complete the Dream Application at www.caldreamact.org by May 18, 2012. If you are a male between the ages of 18 to 26 years old, you must register with selective service to meet eligibility requirements. Students who do not have a Social Security number should register via mailing in a selective service registration postcard. These postcards can be obtained at your local post office.

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To receive state financial aid next school year, you must apply or reapply using the 2016-17 DREAM – California Dream Application by March 2nd. If you want to apply for a cal grant, you submit the CA Dream Application AND the Non-SSN GPA verification form to CSAC by March 2nd. For more information about applying for a Cal grant as an AB 540 student, please review AB 540 Cal Grants

Remember - March 2, 2016 is the priority deadline for submitting your 2016-17 CA Dream Application & Non-SSN GPA Verification Form.

If you have not already done so, you can access the DREAM online at www.caldreamact.org. In order to receive state financial aid during the upcoming academic year, you must reapply every January or February. If you already submitted your 2015-16 DREAM, check the confirmation page on your application to see if any further action is required.

Providing income/tax information:

  • All household Income MUST be reported on the Dream Application whether or not individuals file taxes.
  • Students must provide parent information, unless they meet CA Dream Act definition of independent student
  • Student & parents must report income and any cash support given by relatives except food & housing
  • Some students may have to verify their household income, including parental income.
  • Even if your parents live in another country, you are still required to include their information by indicating foreign taxes & converting to U.S. dollars
  • If students or parents meet income guidelines, they might be required to present an IRS tax return transcript and/or W2 or 1099 Forms.
  • Students and parents can file taxes using ITIN or SSN at www.irs.gov


  • List all schools, including SF State, that you want to receive an electronic copy of your 2016-2017 DREAM. San Francisco State University is listed as CSU-San Francisco and the State School code number is 00115400.
  • SF State will begin notifying students about their 2016-17 financial aid status by May 1, 2016. Please check your SF State university email address regularly for updates.
  • If the CA Student Aid Commission selects your Dream record for verification and if you meet the income guidelines, you will be required to submit a 2015 Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. The 2015 Federal 1040 tax return will NOT be an acceptable document for financial aid.

Visit our web site http://www.sfsu.edu/~finaid/ab540 for more financial aid information for AB 540 students.

Remember - March 2, 2016 is the priority deadline for submitting your 2016-17 CA Dream Application.

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For more information about Cal grants, please visit the Cal Grant webpage: http://www.sfsu.edu/~finaid/newcalgrant.html

In order to apply for the CAL Grant, you must submit your California Dream Application and submit a Non-SSN GPA verification form by March 2nd. As an AB 540 student, you have the highest eligibility of being awarded a Cal grant when you graduate from high school or transfer to a four-year University from a community college. These grants are High School Entitlement or Transfer Entitlement Cal Grants. After you have been at a four year University for two semesters, you are no longer eligible for an entitlement Cal grant . So it is super important that you apply for your Cal grant as you are graduating high school or getting ready to transfer to a four-year University.

Submitting Your GPA as an AB 540 Student

Since one of the eligibility factors considered by the CSAC for the Cal Grants is the applicant's Grade Point Average (GPA), you must have your high school, college, or university verify your GPA. You must complete A Non-SSN GPA Verification Form and Mail into Csac or confirm that your school is electronically transmitting GPA on your behalf.

Rules about Verifying GPAs

  • Graduating High School Students: Your high school can verify your GPA
  • Community College Students: You must have completed 12 units by the end of the fall semester for your community college to be able to verify your GPA.
  • Four Year University Students: You must have completed 24 units by the end of the fall semester for your university to be able to verify your GPA.

Paper verification of GPA for AB 540 Cal Grant A or B applicants:

Undergraduate students who completed less than 24 units at SF State prior to the Fall 2014 semester must file a paper Non-SSN GPA verification Form for New Cal Grant A or B consideration . You must have the school you attended prior to SF State certify your Grade Point Average on the form.

Forms are available at the web site of the California Student Aid Commission - www.csac.ca.gov and must be postmarked and mailed to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2, 2016.

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Download Flyer

  1. Fill OUT the CA DREAM APPLICATION AT http://www.caldreamact.org AND check the confirmation page to see if any additional steps are required. Check again after corrections are made.
  2. BE SURE both you and your parents sign the application online. Parent can mail signature.
  3. List ALL school(s) you are currently attending or applied to for admission.
  4. In the Spring 2016, students should review the status of their financial aid award at each school and complete income verification if required and/or make necessary corrections to receive award.
  5. CA Dream Application will allow students to apply for the State University Grant, Cal Grants & EOP Grant if they meet the income & application guidelines. EOP application and Non-SSN GPA verification form www.csac.ca.gov must ALSO be submitted by deadlines to be eligible.
  6. Students must apply EACH YEAR. Applications available Jan 1 - March 2, 2016.

Information Needed to Fill Out California Dream Application

If applicable, gather the following documents:

  • W-2 forms and other 2015 records of income (if you or your parents have any)
  • 2015 income tax return (s) (if you or your parents have one)
  • Records of child support paid (if applicable)
  • Records of student scholarships & fellowships included in your/your parents’ taxes
  • Current investment records or business
  • Current business records if over 100 employees and/or farm records
  • Current bank statements

Tips on Filling Out the Califorinia Dream Application

  1. Don’t forget your password or your User ID! Write it down!
  2. Citizenship Status. Only AB 540 students who cannot fill out the FAFSA must fill out the CA Dream Application. Citizens, legal permanent residents and eligible non-citizens can only fill out the FAFSA. Students must be coded at their school as AB 540 students to receive dream funds.
  3. Students with ITINs (individual tax identification numbers) can provide this on their application. Students are not required and should not provide a social security number.
  4. You must report your income and any cash support given by relatives except food and housing
  5. If you are under 24 years old, your parents must also report their income and any cash support given by relatives except food and housing (Unless stu is married, has children, grad student, etc.)
  6. Income Verification. A percentage of students will be selected by their college or university to verify their family income. If you or your parents meet income guidelines that require you to file taxes, you might be required to present an IRS tax return transcript to verify your income.
  7. Household size is anyone in the immediate family who receives more than 50% support from a dependent student’s parents or an independent student. Roommates are not included.
  8. Selective Service Registration Most males, 18 to 25 years old must be registered with Selective Service in order to be eligible for state student aid. All male students can register at their local post office by filling out and mailing a Selective Service postcard. SSN not required.
  9. Signing the Dream Application: Student & Parent must sign if considered dependent. First, STUDENT chooses their FSA ID and password to sign and submit the application. Then, PARENT chooses “Add Parent Signature” and has student sign into their account. Parent puts in parent name, birthdate and wages to create PARENT FSA ID, which they use to sign the application.


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This handout includes the estimated per year college costs (tuition, books, room and board, personal expenses and transportation)for students paying resident fees at the four types of colleges/universities in California. The handouts also includes valuable information for undocumented AB 540 students about the California dream act, Cal grant, as well as resources for financial aid and student support.

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