Immigrants Rising Applauds CCC Chancellor’s Office, UC Office of the President, and CSU Office of the Chancellor for Supporting Equitable Implementation of AB 540

For Immediate Release

Contact: Beleza Chan at

Los Angeles, CA (April 3, 2024) – Immigrants Rising applauds the California public higher education systems’ decision to work towards ensuring equitable access to higher education for undocumented students in California by co-creating and co-signing the Systemwide AB 540 FAQ, a collaborative resource that will streamline the implementation of AB 540 in public college campuses across California. The California Community Colleges (CCC) and University of California (UC) systems signed on to the AB 540 FAQ on May 1, 2023. The California State University (CSU) Office of the Chancellor later followed suit and signed on March 15, 2024.

Despite California being one of the first states to enact in-state tuition for undocumented students over 20 years ago, many of these institutions still do not equitably implement these laws. AB 540, also known as the Nonresident Tuition Exemption, was a groundbreaking tuition equity law passed in 2001, allowing undocumented students in California to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. Subsequent AB 540 legislation expanded in-state tuition and financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. However, a high percentage of eligible undocumented students still miss out on opportunities as they do not receive clear and consistent information on admissions, residency, and financial aid, given that each California educational system has varying regulations and implementation practices. According to the Campaign for College Opportunity, only 10% of California’s undocumented students pursue higher education.

“I just finished one of the hardest challenges of being in high school — college applications. While the application process came with a few nights of nonstop writing and form filling, it was not as hard as applying for AB 540. AB 540 should be a solid, simple, and streamlined process of filling out the form and not be as complicated as it is now,” said a high school junior in Manteca excited about the availability of the Systemwide AB 540 FAQ.

The Systemwide AB 540 FAQ, co-created by senior leaders, practitioners, and undocumented individuals from Immigrants Rising and the CCC, CSU, and UC systems, aims to increase alignment in the implementation of AB 540, a landmark tuition equity law, across the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State University (CSU), and University of California (UC) systems, as well as at individual campuses. While not a substitute for legal advice, the FAQ serves as a central resource for educators and administrators at secondary and post-secondary levels, empowering them to effectively and fairly implement AB 540. This AB 540 FAQ is also updated with implementation guidelines for AB 1540, a policy embedding the AB 540 Affidavit into the CA Dream Act Application, and signed into law in October 2023.

“With the Systemwide AB 540 FAQ, students can now go to any public college and university in California and get the same information about AB 540 based on the law. The UC Office of the President, CSU Office of the Chancellor, and CCC Chancellor’s Office’s commitment to the AB 540 FAQ is a victory for undocumented students across California,” said Dr. Iliana G. Perez, Executive Director at Immigrants Rising.

The AB 540 FAQ serves as an informational resource to assist in identifying the current policies of each higher education system. The FAQ will:

  • Reduce confusion: Consistent application of AB 540 across institutions will make it easier for students to understand eligibility requirements and navigate the application process.
  • Empower educators: Clear and consistent guidelines will equip educators with the necessary knowledge to effectively advise undocumented students.
  • Increase access: A streamlined application process will remove unnecessary hurdles and open doors for more undocumented students to achieve their academic goals.

“The future and strength of our state is tied to the success of all students starting their educational journey. Having more knowledge about immigrant student resources to help the leaders of tomorrow is key to ensuring we all thrive together,” said Gloria Vallin, CHIRLA organizer and California Dream Network leader.

By working together, California’s public higher education systems can ensure that AB 540 lives up to its promise of opportunity for all students regardless of immigration status. Immigrants Rising urges stakeholders at all levels — educators, administrators, policymakers, and community leaders — to embrace and promote the Systemwide AB 540 FAQ publication. Let’s join forces to uphold the promise of AB 540 and transform the landscape of higher education. Act now by sharing this information widely, engaging in dialogue with your networks, and advocating for consistent application of these guidelines across all systems.

To learn more about the Systemwide AB 540 FAQ, attend Immigrants Rising’s upcoming webinar on May 9, 2024 at 10 a.m. PT. To register, click here.


About Immigrants Rising

Since 2006, Immigrants Rising has created programming, conducted research, and developed a vast array of resources to help undocumented young people reach their educational and career goals. Highly respected within the field, Immigrants Rising has a proven track record of supporting the success and mobility of undocumented students through collaborative efforts with students, educators, and institutions.

Immigrants Rising’s partners in this initiative were the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) and the California Undocumented Higher Education Coalition (CUHEC).

The Systemwide AB 540 FAQ is a product of the “Realizing the Promise of In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students” initiative funded by the College Futures Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and the Stupski Foundation.