CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY BILL 540: UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT STUDENTS AND HIGHER EDUCATION IN CALIFORNIA (last rev’d 1/22/09). About MALDEF.
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The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is a national civil rights organization founded in 1968. Its principal objective is to promote the civil rights of the 47 million Latinos living in the United States through litigation, advocacy and education.
MALDEF’s National Headquarters:
634 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
1.) To provide you with information on how you can attend college regardless of your immigration status.
2.) To provide you with information on financial assistance for college regardless of your immigration status.
3.) To encourage you to pursue your dreams of obtaining a college or graduate school education.
Sigue adelante! You can face your obstacles with strength, knowledge and perseverance. Your future is in your hands.
The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a Texas law which authorized school districts to bar undocumented students from public elementary and secondary schools.
The Court noted that this law would impose a “lifetime of hardship on a discrete class of children not accountable for their disabling status.”
Undocumented student access to elementary and secondary education is protected by the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. All children, including undocumented children, can attend public elementary and secondary school free of charge.
Plyler did not address the question of postsecondary education.
1.) You must have attended a high school in California for three or more years.
2.) You must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent of a high school diploma (e.g., passed the GED, or CA H.S. Proficiency Exam).
3.) You must register or currently be enrolled in a campus of one of the three state institutions of higher learning (Community College, Cal State or UC).
4.) You must file an affidavit (a written promise) with the college or university stating you meet the law’s requirements and that you have filed an application to legalize your immigration status or will do so as soon as you are eligible. This includes students who currently have no path for adjusting immigration status.
(The privacy of information a student shares with a college or university is protected by federal and state law.)
California Community Colleges
$20/unit (in-state) $173/unit (out-of-state)
California State University (per year)
$3,797 (in-state) $13,967 (out-of-state)
University of California (per year)
$8,007 (in-state) $28,615 (out-of-state)
Undocumented students are eligible for many private scholarships. For scholarship information check out www.maldef.org; www.chci.org
For example: local community markets, car washes, bake sales, and dances. Get together with other AB 540 students and fundraise together.
Q: Is the process for applying to college for undocumented students any different when applying under AB 540?
A: For all UCs and most Cal States, you must apply in November of the year before you plan to enroll. Two sections of your college application must be left blank:
1) Social Security Number box should be left
BLANK (unless you have a VALID social security number issued by the Social Security Administration that may be used for purposes other than work). You should never use an ITIN in place of a social security number.
2) Immigration Status box should be left BLANK.
Q: Can I use a false social security number on my application?
A: No! It is illegal to use a false social security number on a college or financial aid application. Using false information can jeopardize your ability to legalize your immigration status in the future.
Q: What if I have already given the school a false SS# or other false information?
A: If you qualify for AB 540 but have falsified information you should seek legal advice from a licensed immigration attorney.
Q: I heard that AB 540 was challenged in a law suit? Is AB 540 still available?
A: Martinez v. UC Regents is a case that was filed in 2005 challenging the constitutionality of AB 540 under federal law. The case is currently being reviewed by the California Supreme Court. Please refer to www.maldef.org for more information about the status of the case. In the meantime, AB 540 REMAINS in full force and effect and the legal challenge does not prevent eligible students from applying for or receiving an out-of-state tuition waiver under AB 540. You should not be discouraged from pursuing your dreams of attaining a college education.
MALDEFMexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund634 S. Spring Street, 11th FloorLos Angeles, CA 90014(213) 629-2512 (213) 629 0830 faxwww.maldef.org