Championing Equity: Systemwide AB 540 FAQ

Themes/Topics: Higher Education

Geography: California

Audience: Educator, Undocumented Youth


The Systemwide AB 540 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is a comprehensive informational resource aiming to increase alignment in AB 540 implementation across all public California higher education institutions and individual campuses. It details what AB 540 is, eligibility requirements based on attendance and residency, and how to qualify. This FAQ also includes updated information on subsequent legislation that expands AB 540 such as AB 2000 (2014), SB 68 (2017), and SB 1141 (2022).

This comprehensive document was co-created by an intersegmental workgroup comprised of leaders from Immigrants Rising, the CCC Chancellor’s Office, the CSU Chancellor’s Office, and the UC Office of the President, undocumented students, resource center coordinators, UndocuLiaisons, residency and financial aid personnel, and subject matter experts.

Who may benefit from this resource?

Individuals and departments who support undocumented students can use this as a reference for how AB 540 is implemented in California Community College (CCC), California State University (CSU), or University of California (UC) campuses. College financial aid offices, outreach and residency departments, high school counselors, adult school personnel, noncredit program coordinators, and college access organizations may benefit from this resource.


  1. Overview: What is AB 540 (California in-state tuition) and how does it benefit undocumented students?
  2. Eligibility: What are the eligibility requirements for AB 540?
    1. Immigration Status: Which immigration statuses are excluded from AB 540?
    2. Attendance Requirements at California Schools: How can students meet the AB 540 attendance requirements while taking high school, adult school, community college, and noncredit courses?
    3. Diploma, Degree, and Transfer Requirements: How can students satisfy the graduation and/or transfer requirements?
  3. California Residency for Tuition Purposes: What is the difference between “out-of-state tuition exemption” and “residency for tuition purposes”?
    1. DACA, TPS, and U Visa: Can students with DACA, TPS, or a U visa receive state-based financial aid?
  4. Process: How can students meet the AB 540 eligibility requirements?
    1. Affidavit/Application Process: What is the AB 540 Nonresident Tuition Exemption Affidavit?
    2. Proof of Attendance: What proof satisfies the three-year attendance requirement?
    3. Proof of Degree Requirements: What proof satisfies the AB 540 degree requirements?
    4. Timing and Process of AB 540 Approval: What happens after students submit their CA Dream Act Application?
  5. AB 540 and Financial Aid: How can AB 540 students qualify for financial aid in California?

Topics & Keywords

AB 540, SB 68, CA in-state tuition, California Community College (CCC), California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), college affordability

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