AB540 and AB2000


Any student, other than one with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonimmigrant visa status (see exception below for students who have been granted T or U visa status), who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).1


  • The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for 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.2 and
  • The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam) and
  • The student must file an affidavit with the college or university stating 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.
  • Students who are nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes who have been granted T or U visa status, under Title 8 of the United States Code, sections 1101(a)(15)(T) or (U) are eligible for this exemption.3
  • Students who are nonimmigrants, other than those with T or U visa status as noted above, [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.
  • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.
  • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.
  • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents.  They continue to be “nonresidents.” 
  • The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid.
  • AB540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students.  These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.

1 This exemption to the requirement to pay the nonresident tuition fee is often referred to “AB 540” after the Assembly Bill which enacted the exemption. (Ed. Code, § 68130.5.)
2 In 2014, Assembly Bill 2000 was enacted amending Education Code section 68130.5 to allow this additional flexibility in meeting the requirements for the exemption.
3 In 2012, Assembly Bill 1899 was enacted into law exempting holders of T and U visas from paying nonresident tuition. (Ed. Code, § 68122.)


California Dream Act

The California Dream Act of 2011, authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), became law through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131.

AB 130 allows students who meet AB540 criteria to apply for and received non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.

AB 131 allows students who meet AB540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community colleges fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chaffee Grant.

For more information regarding the California Dream Act, please visit the Financial Aid website. (click here)