AB 540 STUDENTS
Assembly Bill 540 is a law that was passed in 2001 by the California legislature. This law is 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.
AB 540 Eligibility Criteria
- Attend a California high school for a minimum of three years; and
- Graduate from a California high school and pass the California High School Proficiency Exam OR get a GED (General Equivalency Diploma or General Educational Development test); 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.
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 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, or aliens without lawful immigration status, among others, should check this box.]”