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AB540 CAlifornia Dream act federal dream act. What is AB540?.

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what is ab540
What is AB540?
  • Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) was signed by Governor Davis in 2001, allowing eligible students (U.S. citizens, legal Permanent Residents, undocumented immigrants) to be exempt from paying significantly higher out-of-state tuition in public colleges and universities in California
  • According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there are about 25,000 undocumented students who graduate from high school every year.
  • There are an estimated 340 to 630 undocumented students in the UC system, with 220-400 receiving AB540 benefits


SB1301 (Cedillo) California DREAM Act

why ab540
Why AB540?
  • Before, AB540 undocumented students, who, under state law, are not CA residents, had to pay higher tuition fees (out-of-state) than California residents
    • Some undocumented students lived in CA for most of their lives, but due to out-of-state tuition, had to readjust their college path
    • Not all AB540 students have methods to change their immigrant status


in state out state tuition 09 10
In-State/Out-State Tuition (09-10)
  • California Community Colleges
    • In-state: ~$624/year (at 12 units/semester)
    • Out-state: $180 more per unit
  • California State University
    • In-state: $4827/year
    • Out-state: $11160/year
  • University of California
    • In-state: $9285/year
    • Out-state: $22717/year


eligibility requirements for ab540
Eligibility Requirements for AB540
  • To qualify for in-state tuition, students must meet all of the following requirements:
    • Attend a California high school for more than 3 years
    • Graduate from a California high school or receive equivalent (i.e. GED, CA H.S. Proficiency Exam)
    • Submit promise to public college/university (CC, Cal State, UC) where they are attending or plan to attend (all information is private/protected by federal and state law)
      • Declare that they meet AB540 requirements
      • That they will adjust immigration status when eligible


ab540 student rights
AB540 Student Rights
  • Can’t be denied into CA colleges or universities based on immigration status
  • Not required to show state issued ID and/or social security card to apply for admission to a public college or university
  • If qualifying for AB540 status, one is not required to pay any fees other than in-state tuition
  • Not required to show proof of legal residency status/proof of application for legal residency status


brief history of undocumented students post secondary education
Brief History of Undocumented StudentsPost-Secondary Education
  • Prior to 1984-85
    • Not able to establish residency
    • Ineligible for financial aid
  • 1984-1985
    • Not able to establish residency
    • Eligible for financial aid using one-time, private UC aid sources
  • 1985-86 through 1990-91
    • Able to establish residency
    • Eligible for financial aid (if a resident undocumented student, receives in-state tuition)

History of Treatment of Undocumented Students at the University of California: Attachment A

brief history of undocumented students post secondary education1
Brief History of Undocumented StudentsPost-Secondary Education
  • 1991-92 through 1996-97
    • Unable to establish residency
    • Eligible for financial aid (treated like out-of-state)
  • 1997-98
    • Unable to establish residency
    • Unable to be eligible for federal, state, and University financial aid
  • 1998-99 to 2002
    • Unable to establish residency
    • Ineligible for aid except awards from private outside agencies
  • 2001-02 to present
    • Unable to establish residency but eligible for exemptions from non-resident tuition if meeting AB540 requirements
    • Ineligible for all aid except awards from private outside agencies

History of Treatment of Undocumented Students at the University of California: Attachment A

difficulties despite ab540
Difficulties Despite AB540
  • Undocumented students are unable to receive federal and state aid (i.e. Cal Grant)
  • After graduation, getting employed is difficult due to undocumented status
  • AB540 does not create a path to adjust one’s immigration status


legislative response
Legislative Response
  • Federal DREAM Act
  • California DREAM Act

*DREAM: Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act

sb160 california dream act 2009 legislation most recent currently in appropriations
SB160: California DREAM Act2009 Legislation: Most Recent: Currently in Appropriations
  • State legislative proposal that allows U.S. citizen and undocumented AB540 students to apply for non-competitive student aid at California public colleges and universities
    • Requires CSU and CCC and requests UC to establish procedures and forms that enable persons who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under provision AB540, or who meet equivalent requirements adopted by the regents, to be eligible to receive institutional financial aid awards, such State University/UC Grants, scholarships, work study, loans



sb1301 california dream act vetoed by governor
  • State legislative proposal to allow U.S. citizens and undocumented AB540 students to be eligible for financial aid at California public colleges and universities without FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid)
    • This is because filling out a FAFSA may affect their future legalization
  • This bill would have allowed AB540 students to apply and compete for institutional aid given by the attending college or university (i.e. State University/UC Grant, scholarships, work study, loan programs)

SB1301 (Cedillo) California DREAM Act

federal dream act
Federal DREAM Act
  • Reintroduced as a bi-partisan effort on March 26, 2009 after previous introductions in 2001, 2005 and 2007
  • Provides thousands (approximately 65,000) of immigrant children who graduate from U.S. high schools the opportunity to receive U.S. Residency (“Green Card”)
  • Essentially restores full authority to states to determine state college and university fees

UCLA Publication: Center for Labor Research and Education – Undocumented Students




federal dream act1
Federal DREAM Act
  • General Requirements
    • Must be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time the Law is enacted
    • Must have arrived in the US before the age of 16
    • Must have resided continuously in the US for at least 5 consecutive years since the date of their arrival
    • Must have graduated from a US high schoo, or obtained a GED (General Education Diploma)
    • Must have “good moral character”


federal dream act2
Federal DREAM Act
  • By meeting the requirements of the DREAM Act, immigrants will have the chance to “earn” Permanent Residency
    • Students issued temporary Residency for a period of six years
    • During the six years, a qualified student must attend college and earn at least a two year degree (AA) or serve in the US Military for two years to maintain immigration benefits
    • Once meeting these conditions, they will be granted Permanent Residency, which will lead to US citizenship
      • *If not meeting these requirements or if convicted of a major crime, temporary Residency will be taken away and student will be subjected to deportation


federal dream act3
Federal DREAM Act
  • Benefits
    • Temporary Residency
    • Eligible to apply for student loans and work study, but not Pell educational grants