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Resources for AB540/Undocumented Students. Helping Students Access & Finance Higher Education. By the end of today you will know…. What does it mean to be undocumented? If a student is undocumented, can s/he go to college? If a student is undocumented, can s/he apply for financial aid?

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resources for ab540 undocumented students

Resources for AB540/Undocumented Students

Helping Students Access & Finance

Higher Education

by the end of today you will know
By the end of today you will know…
  • What does it mean to be undocumented?
  • If a student is undocumented, can s/he go to college?
  • If a student is undocumented, can s/he apply for financial aid?
  • What is AB 540?
  • What is the process of applying for college for undocumented students?
  • Now that I know, what should/can I do to help?
what does it mean to be undocumented
What does it mean to be undocumented?
  • If you do not possess any legal documentation stating your status (i.e. U.S. citizenship, legal permanent residency, a green card or a visa) then you are considered undocumented.
  • Undocumented students are born outside of the US, many of whom have lived in this country for almost their entire lives but reside in the US without the legal permission of the federal government.

NOTE: If your parents are undocumented but you are not, you are eligible to apply for financial aid.

if a student is undocumented can s he go to college
If a student is undocumented, can s/he go to college?


  • You can go to any college or university in California, if you meet the admissions requirements.
  • You cannot be denied admission based on your immigration status.
assembly bill 540
Assembly Bill 540
  • Signed into law on October 12, 2001, authorizes undocumented students who meet specific criteria to pay in-state tuition at California’s public colleges and universities.
  • Any undocumented student that does not have any form of legal documentation of their status and who meets the requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at all public colleges and universities in California.
ab540 the requirements
AB540: The Requirements
  • Must have attended a California high school

for 3 years or more,

  • Must have graduated from a California high

school or attained the equivalent (GED),

  • Register or currently be enrolled at a public

California college or university.

ab540 the requirements cont d
AB540: The Requirements Cont’d

1 page legal document which states that you fulfill all AB 540 requirements and will apply for residency as soon as you are eligible to do so.

NOTE: this does not mean you must be in the process of applying for residency.

AB 540 Affidavit

You must file the affidavit at the campus you will be attending.

Affidavit is completely confidential. It is illegal for schools to share student information with USCIS.

ab540 the facts
AB540: The Facts
  • The AB540 Affidavit is completely CONFIDENTIAL. Colleges and Universities cannot share the information with USCIS.
  • AB540 does not apply to private colleges and universities.
  • AB540 does not grant legal residency to qualifying students.
  • AB540 does not grant state or federal financial aid eligibility.
  • AB540 only provides an exemption to the requirements to pay nonresident tuition
can undocumented students apply for financial aid
Can undocumented students apply for financial aid?


  • Undocumented students do not qualify for state or federal financial aid.

If s/he is in the process of obtaining residency s/he may already be eligible for aid.

  • Applying for scholarships that do not require U.S. citizenship or residency.
  • Being realistic! Making smart choices by assessing personal circumstances.
  • Using creative ways to fundraise (i.e. raffles, donations, etc!)
what are ab 540 students eligible for
What are AB 540 students eligible for?

Application Fee Waivers: (offered by both UC and CSU)

  • AB 540 students qualify for UC application fee waivers if they fit the economic guidelines but do not qualify for CSU application fee waivers.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP): Program for low income and first generation college students that provides additional academic/ personal support, financial assistance and access to a wider range of other services.

(offered at CSU and UC campuses)

  • AB 540 students are not eligible for CSU EOP but can apply to UC EOP. Please have students contact each EOP office personally to inquire about EOP and other support services available for undocumented students on campus.

Extended Opportunity and Programs Services (EOPS): a state funded program which provides EOPS grants and educational services to students.

(offered at CA Community College campuses)

  • AB 540 students are not eligible. Please contact Student Services personally to inquire about any other AB 540 support services on campus.
scholarship tip for undocumented ab540 students
Scholarship Tip for Undocumented/AB540 Students
  • Scholarship providers have their own eligibility requirements. Make sure to obtain current information by contacting each provider directly.
  • Scholarship monies are limited. Do not rely heavily on these.
  • Begin looking for scholarships as early as possible. Search within your school, school district and local community.
  • Find creative ways to fund your education (i.e. ask family members, teachers, mentors, local business or large companies)
  • Network. Get to know current AB540 support groups in high school, community and the college you will be attending.
what is the process of applying for college for undocumented students
What is the process of applying for college for undocumented students?
  • You have a right to higher education and it is going to take much work and dedication on your part. You can do it!
  • You have to be eligible before you apply. Go talk to a college counselor as early as possible to receive all the information you need about planning for college including cost of attendance, college applications, entrance exams, fee waivers, and available resources for undocumented students. Being informed is crucial!
  • Create your own educational plan. Not everyone is the same!
  • Check if you are eligible to file for AB 540 status.
  • Talk to AB 540 College students to get advice about applying to, attending college and what to avoid.
  • Research scholarships and other ways to pay for college.
now that i know what should can i do
Now that I know, what should/can I do?
  • Pass the info around! Demystify the myth.
  • Get involved! There are many organizations working to pass legislation and advocate on behalf of students. (i.e. DREAM ACT, California DREAM ACT)
  • Connect with AB540 Student Groups (the more resources we accumulate, the better we can serve ALL students).
useful websites
Useful Websites:
  • Scholarships/AB 540 Info
  • Scholarships
  • UC
  • CSU
  • California CC