How Undocumented Immigrants Can Obtain State-Sponsored Financial Aid and California Resident Tuition Under the California Dream Act


by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

What is the California Dream Act?

Assembly Bill 540, passed in 2001, allows qualifying non-resident California students to pay resident fees at California’s colleges and universities.  AB 540 students include: (1) undocumented students; (2) students who are U.S. citizens, but who are not residents of California; and (3) usually dependent students whose parents are not residents of California.

The California Dream Act, authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), became law through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131 in 2012.  Assembly Bill 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria (California Education Code 68130.5(a)) to apply for and receive non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.

AB 131 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college fee waivers, Chafee Grant, University of California Grants, State University Grants, Board of Governor’s fee waivers, and Cal Grants for attendance at public and private colleges.  They may also obtain private scholarships administered by California public colleges. Continue reading